Incidence and Outcome of Pericardial Effusion in Pediatric Patients After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant: A Single-institution Experience

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Pericardial effusion (PE) is a known complication after hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). Limited data is currently available regarding the incidence and outcomes of PE in pediatric HSCT.


We conducted a retrospective study on a cohort of patients who underwent HSCT between 2004 and 2015. Risk factors associated with development of PE were evaluated.


In 111 HSCT, stem cell source was bone marrow in 37 (33.3%), peripheral blood—42 (37.8%) and cord blood—32 (28.8%). Incidence of PE after HSCT was 37.8%. Insignificant effusion (trivial or small) was noted in 30 (27.0%) transplants, and significant (moderate or large) PE in 12 (10.8%). There were no associations between incidence of effusion and stem cell source, graft versus host disease or CMV infection. Risk factors associated with development of PE included systemic hypertension (P<0.05), total body irradiation (P<0.05), and sinusoidal obstruction syndrome formerly known as venoocclusive disease (P=0.03). Overall mortality was 22.5% after HSCT, but 38.1% among those with effusion (P<0.05). None of these deaths were attributed to primary cardiac etiologies.


The incidence of PE in this cohort of pediatric HSCT recipients is high and associated with higher morbidity and mortality.

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