Patients with pericardial disease can present to the anaesthesiologist for a variety of diagnostic procedures or therapeutic interventions. Providing safe anaesthesia care for these patients is challenging because of their primary pericardial pathology and significant co-morbidities affecting other organ systems. A thorough understanding of the pathophysiology of the pericardial disease state and its effect on overall haemodynamic variables is necessary before formulating a peri-operative care plan. A multidisciplinary approach involving cardiology, surgical, anaesthesia and critical care teams is needed to provide optimal peri-operative care. This chapter examines the basic pathophysiology of pericarditis, pericardial effusions, tamponade and constrictive pericarditis as these conditions pertain to the anaesthesiologist in the peri-operative period. Diagnostic tools, especially the role of echocardiography, that aid in the diagnosis and management of these high-risk patients are highlighted.
Part of the book: Inflammatory Heart Diseases