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Acute pericarditis in childhood: a 10-year experience.

Twenty children, aged 6 months to 13 years, with acute pericarditis admitted between 1987 and 1997 to a university hospital were analyzed retrospectively for their etiology, presentation, management, and prognosis. The most common types of pericarditis were purulent (40%), collagen vascular disease (30%), viral (20%), and neoplastic disease (10%). Most children presented with chest pain, fever, and tachypnea, but cardiac tamponade was not seen in any children. Staphylococcus aureus was the most frequent causative organism of purulent pericarditis and septic arthritis was the most common concurrent infection in the patients. Surgical drainage was performed for 11 cases, 9 underwent subxiphoid pericardial window, and 2 underwent thoracotomy. There was no constrictive pericarditis or reaccumulation of fluid after surgery. Two children died, one of staphylococcal septicemia and the other had a malignant mediastinal tumor. The remaining 18 made a complete recovery. We conclude that subxiphoid pericardial drainage is a simple, safe, and quick procedure and can be done easily in general hospitals by pediatric surgeons. The expensive facilities of cardiac surgeries are not needed.

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