What is the role of thoracotomy in the treatment of pericardial effusion?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: William J Strimel, DO, FACP; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

This procedure should be reserved for patients in whom conservative approaches have failed. Thoracotomy allows for creation of a pleuropericardial window, which provides greater visualization of the pericardium. Thoracotomy requires general anesthesia and thus has higher morbidity and mortality rates than does the subxiphoid approach.


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