Of 74 patients undergoing long-term hemodialysis who were observed during a 21-month period, seven developed uremic pericarditis. Five of these patients developed intractable pericarditis, unresponsive to intensive dialysis and pericardiocentesis, and were treated with prolonged pericardial drainage (16 to 60 hours) by an indwelling polyethylene catheter and instillation of triamcinolone hexacetonide. Evidence of intractability was based on either the recurrence of cardiac tamponade after pericardiocentesis (two patients) or progression in the size of the pericardial effusion despite four weeks of intensive dialysis (three patients). These five patients recovered and subsequently were observed from 1 to 15 months with no evidence of recurrent pericarditis.
This procedure may be an effective alternative to the surgical management of intractable uremic pericarditis, particularly in the patient at high risk for anesthesia and major surgery.
(Arch Intern Med 136:979-982, 1976)