Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Double blind randomised placebo controlled trial of adjunctive prednisolone in the treatment of effusive tuberculous pericarditis in HIV seropositive patients


OBJECTIVE To determine the effect of adjunctive prednisolone on morbidity, pericardial fluid resolution, and mortality in HIV seropositive patients with effusive tuberculous pericarditis.

DESIGN Double blind randomised placebo controlled trial.

SETTING Two medical school affiliated referral hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe.

PATIENTS 58 HIV seropositive patients aged 18–55 years with tuberculous pericarditis.

INTERVENTIONS All patients received standard short course antituberculous chemotherapy and were randomly assigned to receive prednisolone or placebo for six weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Clinical improvement, echocardiographic and radiologic pericardial fluid resolution, and death.

RESULTS 29 patients were assigned to prednisolone and 29 to placebo. After 18 months of follow up there were five deaths in the prednisolone treated group and 10 deaths in the placebo group. Mortality was significantly lower in the prednisolone group (log rank χ2 = 8.19, df = 1, p = 0.004). Resolution of raised jugular venous pressure (p = 0.017), hepatomegaly (p = 0.007), and ascites (p = 0.015), and improvement in physical activity (p = 0.02), were significantly more rapid in the prednisolone treated patients. However, there was no difference in the rate of radiologic and echocardiographic resolution of pericardial effusion.

CONCLUSIONS Adjunctive prednisolone for effusive tuberculous pericarditis produced a pronounced reduction in mortality. It is suggested prednisolone should be added to standard short course chemotherapy to treat HIV related effusive tuberculous pericarditis.

  • tuberculous pericarditis
  • HIV infection
  • echocardiography
  • prednisolone

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.