Pericardial Effusion Following Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in Children and Young Adults Is Associated with Increased Risk of Mortality

Kelly Lynn Cox, Rajesh Punn, Elizabeth Weiskopf, Benjamin A. Pinsky, Sandhya Kharbanda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is curative for many pediatric malignant and nonmalignant disorders but is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, including the development of pericardial effusion (PEF). We report the results of a retrospective chart review performed to assess the incidence, risk factors, and prognostic significance of PEF in pediatric HCT recipient at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital of Stanford University. A total of 119 patients undergoing HCT between January 2010 and December 2013 were selected through the hospital's Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Program database. A retrospective chart review, including review of documentation, correspondence, imaging reports, laboratory values, and death records, was performed to collect data. The overall incidence of PEF in our population was 21%. Risk factors for the development of PEF included unrelated donor transplants and cord blood as the stem cell source (P =.005), whereas HLA mismatch approached significance (P =.05). The risk for development of PEF was found to not be significantly associated with acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), age at transplantation, sex, conditioning regimen, or viral reactivation status. Of interest, 6 of the 119 patients were found to have transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TA-TMA). Four of those 6 patients developed PEF, suggesting TA-TMA as a risk factor for PEF. Eight of the 25 patients who developed PEF (32%) required pericardiocentesis. Five out of the 8 patients requiring pericardiocentesis died owing to causes unrelated to the procedure or to PEF itself. Pericardial fluid testing in 4 of these patients (50%) was positive for human herpesvirus 6, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and/or adenovirus. Finally, of significant interest, patients with PEF had a statistically significant higher likelihood of mortality compared with those without PEF (44% versus 17%; P =.007).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1169
Number of pages5
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • Pericardial effusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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