Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Heart: pericarditis

Contributor(s): Karen Blissitt, Christopher Brown, Vetstream Ltd

Introduction

  • Pericarditis in association with a pericardial effusion is a rare clinical entity in the horse.
  • Cause: penetrating wounds, extension of infection from adjacent structures, septicemia, neoplasia.
  • Signs: tachycardia, ventral edema, jugular venous distension, diminished heart sounds.
  • Diagnosis: clinical signs, echocardiography, pericardiocentesis, radiography.
  • Treatment: treatment of underlying cause, pericardiocentesis
  • Prognosis: guarded but better if condition diagnosed and treated early.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Most commonly, pericardial effusion results from an idiopathic aseptic pericarditis. Effusive and fibrinous types recognized.
  • Neoplasia.
  • Secondary to penetrating thoracic wounds.
  • Extension of infection from adjacent structures.
  • Septicemia.

Pathophysiology

  • Pericardial effusion   →   restriction of ventricular dilation and impedes atrial and ventricular filling.
  • This decreases end-diastolic volumes   →   poor cardiac output   →   sympathetic nervous system and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system activated   →   tachycardia, vasoconstriction, retention of sodium and water   →   increased end-diastolic atrial pressure   →   increased ventricular filling pressures   →   backward cardiac failure   →   increased central venous pressure   →   jugular distension, abdominal and pleural effusions, ventral edema.
  • Right side of heart more susceptible because of thin wall.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Alcott C J, Howard J, Wong D & Haynes J (2013) Fibrinous pericarditis and cardiac tamponade in a 3-week-old pony foal. Equine Vet Educ 25 (7), 328-333 VetMedResource.
  • Reimer J (2013) Management of equine pericarditis. Equine Vet Educ 25 (7), 334-338 VetMedResource.
  • Worth L T, Reed V B (1998) Pericarditis in horses, 18 cases (1986-1995). JAVMA 212 (2), 248 PubMed.
  • Freestone J F, Thomas W P, Carlson G P & Brumbaugh G W (1987) Idiopathic effusive pericarditis with tamponade in the horse. Equine Vet J 19 (1), 38-42 PubMed.


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