Curr Cardiol Rep. 2021 Jul 1;23(8):106. doi: 10.1007/s11886-021-01539-7.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Pericardial effusion is a challenging pericardial syndrome and a cause of serious concern for physicians and patients due to its potential progression to life-threatening cardiac tamponade. In this review, we summarize the contemporary evidence of the etiology; diagnostic work-up, with particular emphasis on the contribution of multimodality imaging; therapeutic options; and short- and long-term outcomes of these patients.
RECENT FINDINGS: In recent years, an important piece of information has contributed to put together several missing parts of the puzzle of pericardial effusion. The most recent 2015 guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology for the diagnosis and management of pericardial diseases are a valuable aid for a tailored approach to this condition. Actually, current guidelines suggest a 4-step treatment algorithm depending on the presence or absence of hemodynamic impairment; the elevation of inflammatory markers; the presence of a known or first-diagnosed underlying condition, possibly related to pericardial effusion; and finally the duration and size of the effusion. In contrast to earlier perceptions, based on the most recent evidence, it seems that in the subgroup of asymptomatic patients with large (> 2-cm end-diastolic diameter), chronic (> 3 months) C-reactive protein negative, idiopathic (without an apparent cause) pericardial effusion, a conservative approach is the most reasonable option. At present there is an increasing interest in the pericardial syndromes in general and pericardial effusions in specific, which has consistently expanded our knowledge in this "hazy landscape." Apart from general recommendations applied to all cases, an individualized, etiologically driven treatment is of paramount importance.