Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pericardial Effusion proves dangerous for company's aspirations

Corautus, a company that developed gene therapies for specific cardiovascular diseases has halted its trials after three patients developed pericardial effusion, after Boston Scientific which makes the drug delivery device requested the halt.

[Click on title for link to original article]

What exactly is pericardial effusion?

Simply put, this is the lubricating fluid found in the pericardial space.

What is the pericardial space?

Here is a definition:

Here is what eMedicine has to say, "The pericardial space normally contains 15-50 cc of fluid, which serves as lubrication for the visceral and parietal layers of the pericardium. This fluid is thought to originate from the visceral pericardium and is essentially an ultrafiltrate of plasma. Total protein levels are generally low; however, the concentration of albumin is increased in pericardial fluids owing to its low molecular weight."


So why is excessive fluid build up bad?

Going back to the same source:

Mortality/Morbidity: Dependent upon etiology and comorbid conditions

Idiopathic effusions are well tolerated in most patients. As many as 50% of patients with large, chronic effusions were asymptomatic during long-term follow-up.

Pericardial effusion is the primary or contributory cause of death in 86% of cancer patients with symptomatic effusions.

Survival rate for patients with HIV and symptomatic pericardial effusion is 36% at 6 months, 19% at 1 year.

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