The authors report three cases of pericardial constriction secondary to implantation of an automatic defibrillator. In one case, the pericardial constriction occurred 1 year after implantation and was associated with ascending infection of the patch electrodes from the stimulator; the patient died when the patch electrodes were removed, the infection having eroded the left ventricular wall. In the other two cases, signs of constriction appeared 2 years after implantation. In one of these patients, surgery showed a fibrous pericardial reaction deforming the patch electrodes with a favourable outcome when the electrodes were removed. The other patient refused surgery. In the three cases, the diagnosis was confirmed by right heart catheterisation and ventriculography which showed signs of adiastole and severe deformation of the ventricular contours. Pericardial constriction due to patch electrodes is a potentially serious complication of implantable automatic defibrillators, the prevalence of which may be underestimated. The use of endocavitary or extra-pericardial electrodes should avoid this complication.