Percutaneous drainage of delayed post-cardiac surgery pericardial effusion
Background: Pericardial effusion and tamponade are common following valve surgery. The optimal treatment of symptomatic pericardial effusions remains controversial. The objective of this study was to present our experience in non-surgical management of delayed postoperative pericardial effusion.
Methods: This retrospective study was conducted on 64 patients who had delayed pericardial effusion after cardiac surgery from 2016 to 2020. Eight patients were excluded due to the presence of inaccessible posterior or clotted pericardial effusion and were managed surgically, and 56 patients had percutaneous drainage of the pericardial fluid and were included in the analysis.
Results: The mean age was 46.84±11.67 years (range: 22- 68 years), and 46.43% were females. The patients had coronary artery bypass grafting (n= 9), Aortic valve replacements (n= 13), Mitral valve surgery (n= 21), double valve replacements (n= 8) and combined procedures (n= 5). All patients complained of varying degrees of exertional dyspnea. There were statistically significant differences between INR in different cardiac surgeries. Mean INR following mitral valve replacement (4.72±0.63) was significantly higher than in aortic valve replacement patients (3.32±0.34; p<0.001) and aortic valve patients (1.76±0.24; p<0.001). Fifteen patients (26.78%) had a large pericardial effusion. Successful drainage was achieved in all cases. Complications were pneumothorax (n= 2, 3.57%), recurrent effusions (n= 4, 7.14%), arrhythmias (n= 7, 12.5%), myocardial punctures (n= 2, 3.57%) and no mortality was reported.
Conclusions: percutaneous drainage of postoperative pericardial effusion under radiological guidance is generally safe. Pericardial effusion is common after mitral valve surgery, which could be related to higher INR in these patients.