A retrospective survey of 100 Black patients with presumed tuberculous paricarditis showed that 82 presented with pericardial effusion while 18 had constrictive pericarditis. The mortality rate was 17%. Of the 82 patients with pericardial effusion, 15 developed 'constricting pericarditis' within 4 months; 12 required pericardiectomy. Sixteen patients died of cardiac tamponade; the effusion had been confirmed by a radio-isotope heart pool scan but had not been aspirated. This emphasizes the need for early and repeated pericardial aspiration. The fate of 38 rural patients with pericardial effusion was not known. Of the 18 patients with constrictive pericarditis, 7 underwent pericardiectomy, while 3 refused operation.