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  • Author or Editor: D. J. Krahwinkel Jr. x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To determine long-term outcome of dogs with neoplastic and nonneoplastic pericardial disease that undergo pericardiectomy.


Retrospective study.


22 dogs.


Dogs that underwent pericardiectomy and in which the diagnosis had been confirmed histologically were included. Data collected from each record included signalment, history, clinical signs, results of diagnostic evaluations, operative management, postoperative complications, histologic diagnosis, and outcome. Dogs were grouped on the basis of underlying cause of pericardial disease (neoplastic vs nonneoplastic), and survival times were determined by means of Kaplan-Meier analyses.


9 dogs had neoplastic pericardial disease (chemodectoma, 4; hemangiosarcoma, 2; malignant mesothelioma, 2; lymphoblastic lymphoma, 1). Thirteen dogs had nonneoplastic pericardial disease (benign idiopathic pericarditis, 10; lymphocytic-plasmacytic pericarditis, 2; osseous metaplasia of unknown cause, 1). Thoracic radiography and echocardiography were the most specific methods for diagnosis of pericardial effusion. Pleural effusion was the most common postoperative complication (8/22 dogs). Prevalence of postoperative complications was not associated with underlying cause of pericardial disease, surgical approach, or surgical procedure (subtotal vs total pericardiectomy). Median survival time of dogs with neoplastic disease (52 days) was significantly shorter than median survival time of dogs with nonneoplastic disease (792 days). Dogs that developed pleural effusion > 30 days after pericardiectomy had a poor prognosis for survival.

Clinical Implications

Radiography and echocardiography are useful for diagnosis of pericardial effusion in dogs. Dogs with neoplastic pericardial disease have a significantly shorter survival time than do dogs with nonneoplastic pericardial disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;211:736–740)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association