• Canine;
  • Heart;
  • Pericardium;
  • Thoracoscopy

Thirteen dogs with cardiac tamponade resulting from pericardial effusion were prospectively evaluated to determine feasibility and outcome of thoracoscopic partial pericardiectomy. A lateral thoracoscopic approach allowed adequate exposure to remove a 4- to 5-cm-diameter section of pericardium in all dogs. Complete resolution of cardiac tamponade occurred in all dogs for which there was follow-up (11 dogs). Ten of 13 dogs (76.9%) had neoplastic pericardial effusion. One of these dogs remains alive at 220 days postoperatively and is asymptomatic. The mean survival of the remaining 9 patents with neoplastic effusion was 128 days (range, 14–544 days; median, 38 days). Three of 13 patients (23.1%) had idiopathic pericardial effusion. Two of these dogs remain alive at 585 and 1,250 days postoperatively. One dog with idiopathic pericardial effusion developed cardiomyopathy and was euthanized 18 days after the procedure. Results indicate that the procedure was technically successful in all dogs. No anesthetic complications occurred. Procedural complications included phrenic nerve transection (1 dog), lung laceration (1 dog), and moderate intraoperative bleeding (1 dog). No adverse clinical manifestations of the complications were apparent. We conclude that thoracoscopic partial pericardiectomy is technically feasible and offers several advantages over conventional open thoracic surgical pericardiectomy.