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Revista Colombiana de Cardiología

Print version ISSN 0120-5633


TROUT, Guillermo O. et al. Management of pericardial effusion: systematic review of literature. Rev. Colomb. Cardiol. [online]. 2018, vol.25, n.2, pp.138-144. ISSN 0120-5633.


To present a systematic review of the effectiveness of non-surgical treatment for the management of moderate or severe pericardial effusion.


A systematic search was made from February to June 2016 in the databases of Pub Med, SciELO, and Lilacs, in English and Spanish. The search terms used were: Pericardial Effusion and Acute Pericarditis, Treatment, Therapy, Therapeutics, Management. Articles published between 2011 and 2016 that approached the non-surgical treatment of pericardial effusion and acute pericarditis were chosen. Articles that were excluded were those that evaluated cardiac tamponade, constrictive pericarditis, and pericardial effusion due to a myocardial lesion. The selection of the articles was the responsibility of two evaluators and, in case of discrepancies, a third evaluator was consulted.


A total of 2,998 references where identified, from which 138 articles were later selected, and their Abstracts were evaluated. Two articles were chosen in order to read the full text, and the Strobe guidelines for observational studies and the Consort guidelines for randomised clinical trials were used. It was shown that recurrent pericarditis occurred in 26 of the 120 patients in the colchicine group, and in 51 of 120 in the placebo group, with a relative risk ratio (RRR): 0.49 (95% CI; 0.24- 0.65; P=.0009).


Colchicine combined with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs showed to be effective in acute idiopathic pericarditis, as well as in their recurrences. However, more clinical trials with a larger sample size need to be consulted in order to determine the effectiveness of the treatment with more accuracy.

Keywords : Pericarditis; Treatment; Pericardial.

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