Constrictive pericarditis after left extrapleural pneumonectomy and radiotherapy for malignant mesothelioma

Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 2007 Jul;2(7):673-5. [Link]

Hickey EJ, Khan AA, Chambers JB, Lang-Lazdunski L.

The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


We report the devastating complication of constrictive pericarditis after multimodality therapy including left extrapleural pneumonectomy for malignant pleural mesothelioma. The patient presented with progressive dyspnea, ascites, and peripheral edema 6 months after receiving adjuvant radiotherapy. A diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis was made late in the clinical course after exhaustive investigation to exclude primary disease recurrence. Pericardial decortication was subsequently undertaken 12 months after the initial surgery, but the patient died of multi-organ failure. Our experience, combined with a review of the available literature, leads us to advise a low level of suspicion and early operation to relieve cardiac constriction. Furthermore, these complications emphasize the importance of trials such as the Mesothelioma and Radical Surgery (MARS) study.