Symptomatic pericardial effusion in the setting of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection: A case report

Behzad Amoozgar, Varun Kaushal, Umair Mubashar, Shuvendu Sen, Shakeel Yousaf, Matthew Yotsuya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Rationale:Infection with the severe acute respiratory coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been shown to cause multi-organ involvement including cardiopulmonary serosal layers infection and inflammation. As a result, pericarditis and pericardial effusion may occur with or without COVID-19 related respiratory signs. Due to limitations in sensitivity and specificity of current COVID-19 diagnostic studies, cases that trigger high clinical intuition, even with negative serologic and polymerase chain reaction testing results, may necessitate further diagnostic workup to discover the underlying etiology.Patient concerns:Here we present a rare case of pericardial effusion in the setting of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection manifesting with the chief complaint of chest pain.Diagnosis:While undergoing diagnostic workup, the patients first 2 sets of COVID 19 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were negative while a latter RT-PCR test, as well as serology, were positive, leading to the diagnosis of COVID-19 reinfection or subacute presentation of viral infection with pericardial effusion. Echocardiogram depicted large circumferential pericardial effusion with mildly thickened pericardium.Interventions:The patient underwent pericardial window placement followed by ibuprofen administration and discharged from the hospital.Outcomes:During the follow-up visit patient had no symptoms and echocardiogram demonstrated complete resolution of the effusion.Lessons:Due to the possible establishment of pericardial effusions and consecutively tamponade even without any COVID-19 related clinical presentation, it is crucial for clinicians to trust their intuition, conduct the appropriate diagnostic tests, find the underlying diagnosis and prevent the devastating consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E22093
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 11 2020


  • COVID-19
  • asymptomatic
  • case report
  • pericardial effusion
  • tamponade


Dive into the research topics of 'Symptomatic pericardial effusion in the setting of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection: A case report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this