Pericardial Window

Also known as: surgical pericardiectomy.

What is pericardial window?

The body’s heart is enclosed in a protective covering called a sac. The sac has two layers with fluid between them that reduce friction as the heart beats. When too much fluid builds up between the layers, this can cause a variety of problems. Pericardial window is a procedure to remove this excess fluid.

What happens during the procedure?

The surgeon makes a small cut under the breast bone or between two ribs. An incision in the sac allows fluid to drain from it, and that fluid is directed into the abdominal cavity. A tube may also be inserted to allow fluid to drain for a while after the surgery.

Is any special preparation needed?

You will likely need to stop eating or drinking at midnight the day of the surgery. You might also have to stop taking certain medications for a time.

Reviewed by: Bhavi Patel, DO

This page was last updated on: 5/2/2018 2:04:58 PM

Dr. Kristine Guleserian, congenital heart surgeon, with the Heart Program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital discusses minimally invasive approaches to pediatric heart surgery.

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