Charaf Yassine, Giuseppe Colletti, Acasandrei Ciprian, Mairesse George

A rare case report of Erdheim-Chester disease with pericardial effusion, conduction abnormalities and atrial infiltration

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Abstract Background Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) is a rare multisystem disorder that primarily affects adults. It is characterized by the excessive production and accumulation of histiocytes, a type of white blood cell, within multiple tissues and organs, including the cardiovascular system. The infiltration of histiocytes can cause a range of cardiovascular symptoms, including pericardial effusion, myocardial infiltration, and heart failure, among others. Despite the potential severity of these cardiovascular manifestations, ECD is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed, leading to delays in appropriate treatment and poor outcomes for patients. As such, there is a pressing need for increased awareness and understanding of ECD’s cardiovascular manifestations among clinicians and researchers. This article aims to highlight the importance of considering ECD as a potential underlying cause of cardiovascular complaints and to encourage further investigation into this uncommon but potentially life-threatening condition. Case summary A 63-year-old man presented as outpatient complaining of dyspnea on exertion during the last 3 weeks (New York Heart Association functional class III). He had also experienced a left shoulder and bilateral knee pain over the last 6 months. The patient was found to have a massive pericardial effusion associated with ECD. While pericardial effusions can have various causes, including infection, cancer, and autoimmune disorders, ECD is one potential cause of this condition. Therefore, it is important for clinicians to consider ECD in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with unexplained pericardial effusions, particularly in the context of other systemic symptoms suggestive of ECD. We discuss about this specific etiology and the clinical management of this uncommon condition. Discussion Erdheim-Chester disease, a non-Langerhans cell histiocytosis, is a rare multisystem disorder. Diagnosis is challenging and should be suspected in the presence of a pericardial effusion with conduction abnormalities with indicators of a multisystem disease.

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