A new classification for pericarditis associated with meningococcal infection
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Acute meningococcal pericarditis is a rare clinical disorder. Our review of the literature disclosed that current classifications are confusing since they fail to differentiate between two distinct criteria: time and causality. We suggest a new classification of the various states of meningococcal pericarditis on the basis of the pathophysiological process: disseminated meningococcal disease with pericarditis (purulent, culture-positive, associated with meningococcal bacteraemia); isolated meningococcal pericarditis (purulent, culture-positive but without signs of meningeal or other clinical systemic involvement); and reactive meningococcal pericarditis (immunological, late-onset, culture-negative, resembling post-viral pericarditis). It is essential that clinicians recognize the various states of the disease, since they differ in natural history, treatment and prognosis.
Conclusion From personal experience and a literature review it emerges that meningococcal pericarditis should be classified as: (1) Pericarditis as local mani festation of disseminated meningococcal disease; (2) isolated minengococcal pericarditis; (3) reactive (immunopathic) meningococcal pericarditis.
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