Video-assisted thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration for loculated or recurrent effusions.

European journal of cardio-thoracic surgery : official journal of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery

PubMedID: 9845146

Geissb├╝hler K, Leiser A, Fuhrer J, Ris HB. Video-assisted thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration for loculated or recurrent effusions. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 1998;14(4):403-8.
OBJECTIVE
The validity of video-assisted thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration was prospectively assessed for loculated effusions. effusions previously treated by percutaneous catheter manoeuvres and those with concurrent pleural diseases.

METHODS
Inclusion criteria consisted of echocardiographically documented pericardial effusions requiring diagnosis or relief of symptoms and recurrent effusions after failed percutaneous drainage and balloon pericardiotomy. Pre-operative CT-scan was used to delineate additional pleural pathology and to determine the side of intervention. All patients were followed clinically and by echocardiographic examination 3 months post-operatively.

RESULTS
Twenty-four patients underwent thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration with 11 patients (54%) being previously treated by percutaneous catheter drainage, balloon pericardiotomy or subxyphoidal fenestration. Pre-operative echocardiography revealed septation and loculation in 18 patients (72%). Additional pleural pathology was identified on CT scan in 12 patients (50%) and talc pleurodesis was performed in six patients, all suffering from malignant pleural effusion. The mean operation time was 45 min (range 30-60 min) with no complications being observed. All patients were followed 3 months post-operatively by clinical and echocardiographic examination; relief of symptoms was achieved in all patients but echocardiography showed a recurrence in one patient (4%). Another recurrence was found by echocardiography after a mean follow-up time of 33 months in the 12 patients suffering from a non-malignant pericardial effusion. No recurrence of pleural or pericardial effusion was observed in the subset of patients with talc pleurodesis.

CONCLUSION
Video-assisted thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration is safe and effective for loculated pericardial effusions previously treated by percutaneous drainage manoeuvres and those with concomitant pleural disease.