Characteristics of pericardial effusions in patients with leukemia

Keeran Sampat, Adriana Rossi, Valentin Garcia-Gutierrez, Jorge Cortes, Sherry Pierce, Hagop Kantarjian, Guillermo Garcia-Manero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Little information exists regarding the prevalence and natural history of pericardial disease in patients with leukemia. Recently, it has been reported that the use of histone deacetylase inhibitors is associated with an increased incidence of pericardial effusions (PEs). To study the characteristics and treatment relationships of PEs in patients with leukemia, the authors retrospectively analyzed a cohort of patients with leukemia evaluated at a single center. METHODS: The authors reviewed 2592 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML, n = 1282, 49%), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL, n = 336, 13%), or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS, n = 974, 38%), who were evaluated from August 2003 to July 2008. Electronic medical records were reviewed to select patients who had undergone at least 1 echocardiographic evaluation. Data regarding diagnosis, timing, effusion size, survival, and prior therapy were collected for the patients who had echocardiographic evidence of PEs. RESULTS: PEs were detected in 325 (20%) of the patients who had echocardiograms: 21% in AML, 23% in ALL, and 18% in MDS patients. Only a small portion of PEs were detected before the initiation of therapy: 26% in AML, 25% ALL, and 15% in MDS patients. Most PEs were of minimal size (70%) overall. No significant differences in effusion characteristics, including severity, were observed among different types of therapies. The presence of PEs had no impact on the survival of the patients evaluated. CONCLUSIONS: PEs are relatively common in patients with leukemia and do not appear to be related to specific types of therapy or to survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2366-2371
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Histone deacetylase inhibitors
  • Leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Pericardial effusions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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