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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 54-56

Pyopericardium manifesting as cardiac tamponade: A rare presentation of a common disease

Department of Cardiology, Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Date of Submission27-Jan-2022
Date of Decision08-Mar-2022
Date of Acceptance15-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication27-Jul-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Praveen Nagula
Department of Cardiology, Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad - 500 012, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/rcm.rcm_6_22

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Pyopericardium is a rare fatal pericardial disease. It manifesting as cardiac tamponade is rare and because of tuberculosis is extremely rare. We present the case of a 20-year-old female who presented with worsening dyspnea, low-grade fever, and weight loss. Echocardiography showed pericardial effusion with tamponade. After pericardiocentesis, the purulent aspirate on analysis confirmed the etiology as tuberculosis. The patient improved after the initiation of antituberculosis therapy and steroids.

Keywords: Antitubercular therapy, cardiac tamponade, pericardiocentesis, pyopericardium, tuberculosis

How to cite this article:
Reddy PK, Nagula P, Raghava Balla NV, Hussain SZ. Pyopericardium manifesting as cardiac tamponade: A rare presentation of a common disease. Res Cardiovasc Med 2022;11:54-6

How to cite this URL:
Reddy PK, Nagula P, Raghava Balla NV, Hussain SZ. Pyopericardium manifesting as cardiac tamponade: A rare presentation of a common disease. Res Cardiovasc Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 9];11:54-6. Available from: https://www.rcvmonline.com/text.asp?2022/11/2/54/352498

  Introduction Top

Cardiac tamponade is a clinical syndrome caused by the accumulation of fluid in the pericardial space, resulting in reduced ventricular filling and subsequent hemodynamic compromise. It is a cardiac emergency requiring immediate intervention to relieve the compression of cardiac chambers.

Pyopericardium is a rare pericardial disease with a high mortality rate. Pyopericardium is usually secondary to pneumonia, empyema, thoracic surgery, and hematogenous spread of sepsis. The most common organisms attributed are Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae,  Escherichia More Details coli, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

  Case Report Top

A 20-year-old female presented with worsening dyspnea of 1-month duration. Before the onset of dyspnea, there was a history of low-grade intermittent fever with night sweats for 6 months. She had a weight loss of 10 kg over 6 months. There was a history of localized pain in the left lower limb and hip of 2-month duration.

On physical examination, she had a pulse rate of 122 beats/min. Her blood pressure was 90/60 mmHg over the right upper arm in the supine position. The oxygen saturation on room air was 86%. She was tachypneic (40/min). On cardiac examination, the jugular venous pulse was raised, and the heart sounds were muffled. The lungs were clear. Bedside echocardiography revealed large pericardial effusion in tamponade [Figure 1]a. An emergency pericardiocentesis stabilized the patient. Approximately 300 ml of thick pus was aspirated [Figure 1]b. The aspirated pus sample was sent for routine biochemical, pathological, and microbiological parameters along with adenosine deaminase (ADA) levels and cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test (CBNAAT) for M. tuberculosis.
Figure 1: (a) Echocardiographic parasternal short axis view showing large pericardial effusion (red arrow) and both ventricles, D-shaped left ventricle is also seen. (b) The pus aspirated from the pericardial space, RV -right ventricle, LV - left ventricle

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The laboratory evaluation of the pus sample showed low glucose (34 mg/dl), elevated proteins (7.8 g/dl). The ADA level was elevated (124U/L) and lactate dehydrogenase level was 3135U/L. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate was 100 mm/h. The CBNAAT for M. tuberculosis was positive. Imaging evidence of pulmonary tuberculosis was confirmed on computed tomography (CT) of the chest. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine showed lytic lesions in the vertebrae and paravertebral space, suggestive of Pott's spine. She was initiated on antitubercular therapy. She responded well to the treatment and is under regular follow-up.

  Discussion Top

Purulent pericarditis (also known as pyopericardium) is diagnosed when pus is drained from the pericardium or bacteria are grown from the pericardial specimen. It accounts for <1% of total cases of pericarditis.[1] It usually presents with fever and chest pain. Hypotension and raised jugular venous pressure are usually present. The presence of pulsus paradoxus gives clues regarding the presence of tamponade.[2]

Although approximately one-third of cases of pericardial effusion secondary to tuberculosis is massive, only <3% of them present as pyopericardium.[3],[4] The usual mechanism of pericardial involvement is by retrograde lymphatic spread from the peritracheal, peribronchial, and mediastinal lymph nodes. Contiguous spread from pulmonary tuberculosis or by hematogenous spread from a distant primary tuberculosis infection is relatively uncommon.[5] In our case, the patient had disseminated tuberculosis involving the lungs, pericardium, and spine. Four pathological phases of tuberculous pericarditis (TBP) are shown in [Table 1].[6]
Table 1: Stages of tubercular pericarditis

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Due to the purulent nature of fluid and negative stain for the acid-fast bacilli (AFB), bacterial etiology was suspected, and the patient was started on high-end antibiotics after emergency pericardiocentesis. In Reuter et al., study of 233 cases with pericardial effusion, the presence of fever, night sweats, weight loss, and peripheral blood leukocyte count (<10 × 109/l) were independent predictors of TBP. A value of >40 u/l (ADA) in pericardial fluid has 87% sensitivity and 89% specificity.[7] In our case, the patient has all the above features as shown in the [Table 1], hence, pyopericardium secondary to disseminated tuberculosis was considered as a probable diagnosis.

Echocardiographic-guided pericardiocentesis is safe and effective. During the evaluation of pericardial disease, CT and MRI are better because of simultaneous visualization of mediastinal structures, better soft-tissue contrast when compared to echocardiography.[8] As the CBNAAT was positive for AFB, the patient was initiated on antitubercular therapy. Other supporting evidence in favor of AFB came from the CT chest which showed a tree in bud opacities in the upper lobes of the lung, and an MRI of the spine which showed lytic lesions in the spine confirming the diagnosis as Pott's spine.

The diagnostic yield of AFB from the smear and culture of pericardial fluid is variable. It varies from 53% with conventional culture method using Lowenstein‒Jensen medium, and up to 75% detection with double-strength liquid medium of Kirchner.[9] In our study, AFB staining was negative. A strongly positive tuberculin skin test as seen in our patient may increase the suspicion of TBP, but a negative test does not exclude this diagnosis.[7] The sensitivity and specificity of polymerase chain reaction, ADA (value of >38 IU/l) are 74% and 88%, 81%, and 90%, respectively, in diagnosing tuberculous effusions.[10] In our case, the patient had high ADA levels (124U/L) and positive CBNAAT for AFB.

Time-tested therapies for the prevention of constrictive pericarditis include the early use of corticosteroids, colchicine, and fibrinolytic therapy in a patient with effusion. Tapering the dose of the prednisolone over 6 weeks in patients with TBP without HIV infection is recommended (their use is avoided in HIV-infected individuals because of the increased risk of malignancy). We used corticosteroids for 2 weeks during the hospital stay and achieved an excellent therapeutic response with prompt pericardial drainage and anti-TB therapy.

  Conclusion Top

Timely judgment and diagnosis along with accurate microbiological analysis will determine the prognosis in pyopericardium. The case is reported for its rarity and fatal clinical outcome if the diagnosis is delayed.

Declaration of patient consent

All appropriate patient consent forms have been obtained. In the from the patient has given her consent for her images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understand that her name and initial will not be published , and due efforts will be made to conceal her identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Imazio M, Brucato A, Mayosi BM, Derosa FG, Lestuzzi C, Macor A, et al. Medical therapy of pericardial diseases: Part I: Idiopathic and infectious pericarditis. J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown) 2010;11:712-22.  Back to cited text no. 1
Hall IP. Purulent pericarditis. Postgrad Med J 1989;65:444-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Shakya S, Jha SC. Cardiac manifestations of tuberculosis in a tertiary care center of Nepal. Nepalese Heart J 2018;15:35-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Gowrinath K, Phani Krishna B, Raghavendra C, Sai Ravi Shankar A. Unusual cause of pyopericardium with tamponade. J Clin Sci Res 2015;4:61-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  
Mayosi BM, Burgess LJ, Doubell AF. Tuberculous pericarditis. Circulation 2005;112:3608-16.  Back to cited text no. 5
Ntsekhe M, Mayosi BM. Tuberculous pericarditis with and without HIV. Heart Fail Rev 2013;18:367-73.  Back to cited text no. 6
Reuter H, Burgess L, van Vuuren W, Doubell A. Diagnosing tuberculous pericarditis. QJM 2006;99:827-39.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wang ZJ, Reddy GP, Gotway MB, Yeh BM, Hetts SW, Higgins CB. CT and MR imaging of pericardial disease. Radiographics 2003;23:S167-80.  Back to cited text no. 8
Lee JH, Lee CW, Lee SG, Yang HS, Hong MK, Kim JJ, et al. Comparison of polymerase chain reaction with adenosine deaminase activity in pericardial fluid for the diagnosis of tuberculous pericarditis. Am J Med 2002;113:519-21.  Back to cited text no. 9
Mishra OP, Kumar R, Ali Z, Prasad R, Nath G. Evaluation of polymerase chain reaction and adenosine deaminase assay for the diagnosis of tuberculous effusions in children. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:985-9.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]


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