Heart & Cardiology/Pericardial window


QUESTION: How long after a pericardial window/ biopsy would you expect an otherwise healthy person to return to full time work

The operation is a relatively minor procedure. Recovery in an otherwise healthy person should be uneventful (full recovery in <4-6 weeks). However, it is not the operation but the illness for which it is being done that will determine how quickly a patient is back to normal. Thus the real question is why is this type of surgery necessary?
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Hope this helps,
Dr T

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I have had chronic sinus inflammation for 8 months.   Two months ago I started getting work ups from an ID doctor,rheumatologist and immunologists. About 16 vials of blood latter, all bloodwork was normal except measures of inflammation which were high but non specific. I was getting increasingly fatigued, winded and had a few occasions where I woke not being able to breathe, pacing, anxious and tried to lean forward to take a breath.  The following day I had a ct of the
Chest which showed a large pericardial effusion.  I was admitted the I spiral that evening and had a liter of bloody fluid drained. I went home the following day. The fluid was tested and negative for infection,  cancer, TB but positive doe Inflammation.  I was re admitted three days later with a moderator to large effusion reforming which was causing the aortic chamber to collapse.   The immunologist wanted me to have a biopsy to see it would provide a reason for the inflammation so I was transferred to a hospital with cardio thoractic surgeons who could do a biopsy and window. So far the test results. Are negative except for Inflammation.  The tissue biopsy is still pending. If the tissue biopsy is also inconclusive what is the next step?

Hi Amy,
The surgery accomplishes two goals:
1. Diversion of the accumulated fluid to the pleural space around your lungs where repeat drainage is easier to perform.
2. A biopsy may render a diagnosis if this is pericardial disease. If not positive for a definite diagnosis, it may mean the effusions are caused by a problem yet to be discovered.
Biopsies often show inflammation, but unfortunately not necessarily a cause. Often, no cause can be identified. Sometimes this means an understanding that the disease will "burn itself out", and anti-inflammatory therapy and steroids are used to facilitate that period.
Hope this helps,
Dr T

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