Clinical Course and Predictors of Pericardial Effusion Following Cardiac Transplantation

A. S. Al-Dadah, T. J. Guthrie, M. K. Pasque, M. R. Moon, G. A. Ewald, N. Moazami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Objective: Pericardial effusions occur frequently after orthotopic heart transplantation. There have been conflicting reports describing etiology, prognosis, and outcomes associated with these early postoperative effusions. Methods: A retrospective review of 91 patients transplanted between January 2001 and September 2004 was performed. Pericardial effusion was defined by serial echocardiography and graded as none, small, moderate, or large. A total of 1088 echocardiograms were evaluated during the first posttransplant year. Perioperative variables were evaluated by logistic regression analysis to define predictors for occurrence of effusions. Results: Echocardiographic data were available for 88 patients. Thirty-one patients (35%) developed moderate to large effusion in the immediate postoperative period. Three patients developed hemodynamic compromise that required immediate intervention. All other effusions resolved within 3 months of heart transplantation without any specific intervention. Only prolonged donor ischemic time was associated with higher risk of occurrence of moderate to large pericardial effusions (odds ratio 1.012, 95% confidence interval 1.001 to 1.019, P = .033). There was no difference in morbidity or early mortality between patients with and without pericardial effusions. Conclusion: Moderate to large pericardial effusions occur frequently after heart transplantation. In a vast majority, these effusions are not associated with any adverse clinical outcomes and resolve within 3 months postoperatively. Early postoperative close monitoring is still required to evaluate for tamponade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1589-1592
Number of pages4
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

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