Prevalence of Microvoltage on electrocardiography of patients with TB pericarditis at King Edward VIII Hospital,KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr NP Duze, Prof R Hift


Tuberculous pericarditis is a life-threatening form of extra pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), which presents either as pericardial effusion or as constrictive pericarditis(1). The current burden of tuberculosis, given the current prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, cannot be overstated. There is an association between tuberculous pericarditis and HIV/AIDS . A study has shown that pericardial effusions are common in HIV-infected patients and that the spectrum of clinical presentation is broad (2).  

There is a need for a sensitive and specific diagnostic test for the diagnosis of tuberculous pericardial effusion. Since the bulk of the burden of tuberculous pericarditis is borne in developing countries, such a test should additionally be inexpensive and widely available, even in poorly resourced areas.

King Edward VIII Hospital is the second largest hospital in the Southern hemisphere, providing regional and tertiary services to the entire KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. It is a 922 bedded hospital which processes approximately 360 000 outpatients per annum. It is situated in eThekwini and is a teaching hospital for the University of Kwazulu-Natal’s College of Health Sciences (3) a large number of patients with tuberculous pericarditis, the majority of whom are simultaneously HIV-infected, are seen in this institution.

This study seeks to investigate microvoltage as one of ECG changes in patients with tuberculous pericarditis and will also seek to establish a correlation between microvoltage and the CD4 count.