Background: Constrictive pericarditis (CP) is defined as impaired diastolic cardiac function caused by a calcified and thickened pericardium. We assessed the clinical characteristics and time to diagnosis, as well as patient prognosis after pericardiectomy. Methods: We analyzed the records of 36 CP patients who underwent pericardiectomy at Huashan Hospital, China, between 2012 and 2015. Clinical manifestations, length of time to diagnosis, laboratory parameters, and diagnostic imaging results were examined. All patients underwent pericardiectomy, and were assessed post-operatively for quality of life and improvement of cardiac function using the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ). Results: All patients displayed shortness of breath and polyserous effusion, as well as elevated pro B-type natriuretic peptide and thickened pericardium. Mean time between onset of symptoms and a definitive diagnosis of CP was 9.5 ± 2.1 months. Pericardiectomy was performed within one week of diagnosis. Mean central venous pressure decreased from a pre-operative 19.92 ± 6.6 mmHg to a post-operative 8.5 ± 2.7 mmHg. Within 1.5 ± 0.7 years of surgery, all patients maintained good quality of life and cardiac function, which resulted in a mean score of 0.9 ± 0.6 on the MLHFQ. Conclusion: A definitive diagnosis of CP is usually made long after the onset of symptoms. Early detection and diagnosis by echocardiography with elevated central venous pressure and early treatment by surgery are key to an improved prognosis and resumption of good cardiac function.