The heart of the matter: Secondary hypogammaglobulinemia and constrictive pericarditis

Erica G. Schmitt, Aarti S. Dalal, Alok Kothari, Maleewan Kitcharoensakkul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Constrictive pericarditis is the final common result of a number of processes that affect the pericardium. Establishing the diagnosis and determining the underlying etiology of constrictive pericarditis are often a diagnostic rendezvous. Here, we describe a patient who presented to the general practitioner with edema, ascites, and weight gain and was found to have constrictive pericarditis secondary to an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor of the mediastinum. Interestingly, she had a relative lack of cardiorespiratory complaints, and, aside from the edema and mildly elevated jugular venous pressure, she had an unremarkable cardiac and pulmonary examination. During the diagnostic evaluation for constrictive pericarditis, she was found to have hypogammaglobulinemia and profound lymphocytopenia. A stool a-1antitrypsin level was sent and was elevated, which confirmed the diagnosis of protein-losing enteropathy, a rare but important complication of constrictive pericarditis. This case highlights important diagnostic considerations and management of these complications for the general practitioner.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020021808
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


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