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Pericardial Effusion in Nephrotic Syndrome

Barry Kirschbaum, MD; Donald W. Romhilt, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(1):233. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380010235025.
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To the Editor.  —Fluid retention in the nephrotic nonazotemic patient leads to peripheral edema, ascites, and pleural effusions. Intuitively, pericardial effusions would be anticipated as well, but our recent review of the literature to document the association of pericardial effusion and nephrotic syndrome was unsuccessful except for an unreferenced one-line statement in a leading textbook of nephrology.1 Our search excluded nephrotic syndromes caused by, or associated with, systemic disorders such as lymphoma, systemic lupus erythematosus, or vasculitis, which could cause pericardial effusions quite independently of renal disease. Also excluded was uremic pericarditis with effusion.

Report of a Case.  —Our case revolves about a 67-year-old man with nephrotic syndrome attributed to long-standing diabetes mellitus with a proteinuria of 7.0 g/d (7.0 mg/24 hours), total serum protein level of 62 g/L (6.2 g/dL), with an albumin concentration of 23 g/L (2.3 g/dL) and a calculated colloid osmotic pressure of 16.5 mm


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