Reference tracings are of great value in the diagnosis and assessment of constrictive pericarditis. The Q-h interval in the jugular venous pulse tracing is strongly correlated with the mean right atrial pressure (r=0·91). The left ventricular ejection time, the Q-A2 interval, and the Q-h interval are independent during atrial fibrillation from the preceding diastolic filling interval. This differentiates constrictive pericarditis from valvular heart disease. Cases with haemodynamically significant constrictive epicarditis are characterized by a rapid evolution, absence of pericardial calcification and absence of an early diastolic filling sound, a dominant a wave in the jugular venous pulse tracing, and a high early diastolic ventricular pressure. The haemodynamic behaviour is similar to that found in cases with myocardial fibrosis.
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