Diagnosis and Management of Tuberculous Pericarditis: What Is New?

Godsent Isiguzo, Elsa Du Bruyn, Patrick Howlett, Mpiko Ntsekhe
Current Cardiology Reports 2020 January 15, 22 (1): 2

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review provides an update on the immunopathogenesis of tuberculous pericarditis (TBP), investigations to confirm tuberculous etiology, the limitations of anti-tuberculous therapy (ATT), and recent efficacy trials.

RECENT FINDINGS: A profibrotic immune response characterizes TBP, with low levels of AcSDKP, high levels of γ-interferon and IL-10 in the pericardium, and high levels of TGF-β and IL-10 in the blood. These findings may have implications for future therapeutic targets. Despite advances in nucleic acid amplification approaches, these tests remain disappointing for TBP. Trials of corticosteroids and colchicine have had mixed results, with no impact on mortality, evidence of a reduction in rates of constrictive pericarditis and potential harm in those with advanced HIV. Small studies suggest that ATT penetrates the pericardium poorly. Given that there is a close association between high bacillary burden and mortality, a rethink about the optimal drug doses and duration may be required. The high mortality and morbidity from TBP despite use of anti-tuberculous drugs call for researches targeting host-directed immunological determinants of treatment outcome. There is also a need for the identification of steps in clinical management where interventions are needed to improve outcomes.

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