Pericardial effusion is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pericardial space. The complications of pericardial effusion can either be acute (e.g., cardiac tamponade) or chronic (e.g., constrictive pericarditis). We have conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature to evaluate the efficacy and safety of intrapericardial fibrinolysis in preventing complications of pericardial effusion. We searched for both published and unpublished studies. 29 studies, with a total of 109 patients were included in this review; 17 case reports, 11 case series, and one randomised controlled trial (RCT). All included studies had a high risk of bias. The most common causes of pericardial effusion were Staphylococcus aureus (12 studies with 23 cases) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (2 studies with 19 cases). The most common fibrinolytic agents used were streptokinase (15 studies) and urokinase (5 studies). Intrapericardial fibrinolysis prevented complications in 94 (86.2%) patients. Non-fatal procedure-related complications were reported 21 (19.2%) patients. No patient died following intrapericardial fibrinolysis. There is very low certainty of the efficiency and safety of intrapericardial fibrinolysis in preventing the complications of pericardial effusion. High quality RCTs are required to address this question.
Wiyeh, A. B., Ochodo, E. A., Wiysonge, C. S., Kakia, A., Awotedu, A. A., Ristic, A., & Mayosi, B. M. (2018). A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of intrapericardial fibrinolysis in patients with pericardial effusion. International Journal of Cardiology, 250, 223–228. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.10.049