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What is Postpericardiotomy syndrome

Postpericardiotomy syndrome – a frequent complication of open-heart surgery, is characterized by fever, chest pain, and pericardial and pleural effusions. These signs may develop 1 to 12 weeks after intracardiac surgery in approximately 30 percent of patients. Although the etiology of the syndrome is unknown, evidence points to a viral and/or autoimmune cause. Postpericardiotomy syndrome is diagnosed after excluding other conditions such as endocarditis and pneumonia. In many cases, the syndrome is self-limiting and occurs only once, but in other cases the symptoms have recurred as many as eight times. Early recognition of the syndrome is the key to limiting the discomfort and possible complications associated with this condition.

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