Pericardial effusion is defined as abnormal fluid accumulation within the pericardial sac.1–5 It is a potentially life-threatening condition and can occur secondary to a number of disease processes.3–5 Neoplasia, more specifically right atrial hemangiosarcoma, is the most common cause of pericardial effusion in dogs.1 Idiopathic pericardial effusion is also common in dogs, representing approximately 20% of cases.1 Regardless of the cause, the treatment involves pericardiocentesis, thoracoscopic creation of a pericardial window (ie, pericardial window technique), partial pericardectomy via thoracoscopy (with or without mass excision), or subtotal pericardectomy via thoracotomy.6–11 It has been shown that dogs with an idiopathic pericardial effusion have an excellent prognosis when treated by subtotal pericardectomy via thoracotomy, in that MST was not reached in 1 study.2 However, the long-term outcome of idiopathic cases of pericardial effusion treated by a thoracoscopic pericardial window procedure has not been reported. The purpose of the study reported here was to retrospectively evaluate the DFI and MST of dogs with idiopathic and neoplastic pericardial effusion surgically treated either by the pericardial window technique or subtotal pericardectomy via thoracotomy. A secondary objective was to compare DFI and MST in dogs with and without a mass on preoperative echocardiography that underwent either surgical technique. We hypothesized that the surgical technique, via thoracoscopy or thoracotomy, used to palliate the clinical signs related to pericardial effusion does not affect the DFI and the long-term survival rate of dogs with idiopathic or neoplastic pericardial effusion.
Median survival time
JMP, version 9.0, SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC.
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