• Sixteen patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis in whom moderate-to-large pericardial effusions developed were treated with short-term drainage via a large-bore tube implanted into the pericardial sac. Drainage tubes were implanted using a subxiphoid approach (subxiphoid pericardiostomy) while the patient was under local anesthesia. In seven patients, triamcinolone hexacetonide was instilled into the pericardial sac through the drainage tube at regular intervals. In all patients, a drainage period of two to four days, with or without instillation of nonabsorbable steroids, was associated with resolution of the pericardial effusion. Only one recurrence of effusion was demonstrable over a follow-up period extending from three months to eight years (median, 4.2 years). Complications of subxiphoid pericardiostomy were minor (incisional hernia, wound infection, and small pneumothorax) and easily treatable. Our results suggest that short-term drainage via a surgically implanted drainage tube is an effective and safe treatment of moderate-to-large hemodialysis-associated pericardial effusion.
(Arch Intern Med