Thoracoscopic pericardiectomy for effusive pericardial disease

Ann Thorac Surg. 1993 Sep;56(3):792-5. doi: 10.1016/0003-4975(93)90982-n.


Thoracoscopic techniques were used to perform a pericardiectomy in 35 patients with purely effusive pericardial disease after medical management and pericardiocentesis had failed to be effective. There were no intraoperative complications and postoperative complications were few. Two cases of dysrhythmia and 2 cases of pneumonia occurred postoperatively. Malignancy was identified as the cause in 18 patients and there were benign causes in the remaining 17. The hospital stay in the group with benign effusions was 4.6 days. There were no recurrences of pericardial effusions and no constrictive changes developed during a mean follow-up of 9 months. Fourteen (40%) patients had pleural or pulmonary abnormalities that were managed simultaneously thoracoscopically. These abnormalities included 2 pleural masses, 2 pulmonary nodules, and 12 pleural effusions. In 8 instances, the pericardiectomy was performed from the right pleural cavity in order to address the pleural or pulmonary problem. Thoracoscopic pericardial resection has proved safe and effective. It allows a wider pericardial resection than that usually permitted by the subxiphoid route, and should lessen the pain and the number of pulmonary complications, compared with open thoracotomy. An additional advantage is that it allows the visualization and management of simultaneous pleural and pulmonary abnormalities.

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Pericardial Effusion / epidemiology
  • Pericardial Effusion / etiology
  • Pericardial Effusion / surgery*
  • Pericardiectomy / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Television
  • Thoracoscopy*
  • Time Factors