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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


A Rare Case of Acute Pleuropericarditis as a Complication of Permanent Pacemaker Insertion

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Unusual or unexpected effect of treatment, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents

Małgorzata Chlabicz, Piotr Jakim, Małgorzata Zalewska-Adamiec, Magdalena Róg-Makal, Sławomir Dobrzycki

Poland Department of Invasive Cardiology, Medical University of Białystok, Białystok, Poland

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e928188

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.928188

Available online: 2020-11-17

Published: 2021-01-10


BACKGROUND: Pleuropericarditis after pacemaker (IPG) implantation is a rare post-cardiac injury syndrome (PCIS) condition. Pericarditis is one of the complications following insertion of a IPG; it affects 2-5% of patients within 5-21 days after IPG implementation and is associated with screw-in (active fixation) atrial lead positioning. Usually, pericarditis following IPG implantation is benign and has a self-limiting course. The mechanism of this complication remains unclear. It could involve a direct irritation of pericardium by minimally protruding electrodes, low bleeding, and autoimmune and inflammatory responses. The frequency of pleuropericarditis is not well defined. The etiopathogenesis is presumed to be the same as for pericarditis, yet there are no standardized criteria for the diagnosis, and treatment is based on the empirical anti-inflammatory therapy used in pericarditis.
CASE REPORT: A 71-year-old woman was admitted due to syncope. Sinus arrests with escape atrioventricular rhythm were observed during hospitalization; therefore, a dual-chamber pacemaker (IPG) was implanted with 2 active fixation (screw-in) electrodes. On the first day after implantation, a slight pericardial hemorrhage occurred with resorption in the following days, and an inflammatory reaction with pericardial and left pleural effusion occurred later. The first-line treatment was ineffective. However, prednisolone with colchicines with longer use than suggested by pericarditis recommendations was effective.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with even mild pericardial effusion after IPG insertion should be followed closely due to the risk of pleuropericarditis, with consideration of anti-inflammatory treatment for longer than in pericarditis.

Keywords: case reports, Pacemaker, Artificial, Pericardial Effusion, Pericarditis