Pericardial effusion may lead to cardiac tamponade sometimes requiring surgical treatment. The aim of the study was to retrospectively analyse a group of patients with cardiac tamponade treated with a modified video-assisted thoracoscopy technique. We treated 15 patients (8 males and 7 females; mean age 63 years; range 24-80 years) with cardiac tamponade. All patients were treated by a modified video-assisted thorascopic approach on the right hemithorax, with the use of two trocars: a 15-mm trocar on the 4th right intercostal space on the anterior axillary, and a 10-mm trocar on the 7th right intercostal space on the median axillary line. We used a 5-mm optic, the size of which permitted the simultaneous use of two instruments through a single trocar (both for the optic and the endoscopic forceps), leaving the second trocar for the dissecting scissors. In all patients we obtained a pericardial resection equivalent to the one obtainable in an anterolateral thoracotomy. There was no intraoperative mortality or perioperative morbidity. Drainage of the pericardial effusion was effective in all cases. The modified video-assisted thoracoscopic technique on the right chest using two trocars seems a feasible surgical technique for patients suffering from cardiac tamponade.
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