Human intravenous immunoglobulins (hIVIgs) are used in two broad categories of diseases: immunodeficiency and autoimmunity. Among the immune-mediated diseases hIVIgs are of benefit in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and dermatomyositis. Chronic idiopathic pericarditis (CIP) is a chronic disease of unknown origin characterized by recurrent episodes of pericardial inflammation. The cause of the recurrence is unknown, although in some cases it may be traced to a viral infection and to the presence of antimyocardial antibodies. Since a viral infection can induce an autoimmune process through a mechanism of molecular mimicry, and since the optimal therapy for prevention of the recurrences has not been established, we reasoned that treatment with hIVIgs could be beneficial in our patients unresponsive to previous immunosuppressive therapies. We describe four patients affected by CIP treated with monthly high-dose hIVIgs (0.4 g/kg daily for 5 consecutive days) for five times followed by administration every 2 months. Three of the four patients could permanently discontinue steroid therapy and are still in remission after years of follow-up. Our experience suggests that hIVIgs therapy may be a useful and safe treatment for CIP in steroid-dependent patients.
- Chronic idiopathic pericarditis
- Intravenous immunoglobulin
ASJC Scopus subject areas