[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recurrent pericardial effusion or tamponade can complicate malignant disease. The medical approach with pharmacologic agents has a high recurrence rate. Balloon pericardiotomy (BP) may provide a less invasive alternative to surgery. We performed BP in ten high-risk patients with malignant pericardial tamponade (MPT). BP was performed with aseptic technique under fluoroscopic and echocardiographic guidance. We used a percutaneous subxiphoid approach. A 20- to 25-mm-wide and 4-cm-long balloon was introduced over a stiff guide wire, positioned across the parietal pericardium, and manually inflated until the waisting disappeared. Echocardiographic study and chest radiograph were taken before, immediately after the procedure, and during follow-up. The procedure was successful and well tolerated in all patients. There were no immediate or late complications. No patients developed recurrence of pericardial effusion at up to 10 months' follow-up. In conclusion, BP can be performed in patients with MPT with high rate of procedural success. It may become the preferred treatment to avoid a more invasive procedure in these critically ill patients.
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