Thoracoscopic Pericardiectomy: This is a minimally invasive, advanced surgery where small keyholes are made in the chest wall. This is a treatment for idiopathic pericardial effusion. The heart is able to be visualized, and with careful and intricate skill, a window is made into the sac around the heart relieving the constriction of the heart by the fluid.
In photo #1, the patient’s pericardium is full of fluid causing effusion in the abdomen and lethargy. In the video on right, we have entered the chest via a keyhole incision and we are removing a small portion of the pericardium (sack around the heart). With a small window in the pericardium, the fluid will drain into the chest giving this patient’s heart room to beat properly. In video #2, the patient is comfortable and almost back to normal only 24 hours post surgery.