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Case report on surgical management of a pericardial effusion and subsequent pericardectomy

02 February 2017
15 mins read
Volume 8 · Issue 1


A 7-year-old, neutered, female Labrador Retriever was admitted as an emergency referral on the diagnosis of a recurrent pericardial effusion. Following a pericardiocentesis, a subtotal pericardectomy was consequently performed. Nursing care for this patient was focused on the post-operative monitoring including the maintenance of the thoracostomy tube, indwelling urinary catheter, arterial catheter and continual assessment of the analgesia protocol. The patient subsequently recovered well and was discharged 4 days post operation.

A7-year-old, female, neutered Labrador Retriever presented as an emergency with a pericardial effusion which was consequently drained. A computerised tomography (CT) scan and echocardiograph provided evidence of an irregular mass located between the right atrium and pericardium, which was suspicious of a haemangiosarcoma. The patient was discharged with the owners being fully informed of the possible outcomes and further treatment methods or care the patient could receive. However a second pericardial effusion subsequently developed and the patient was admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU).

The patient was presented to a veterinary surgeon (VS) on observation of respiratory changes by the owner. Clinical signs at this stage included tachypnoea, tachycardia and a pot-bellied abdomen. The diagnosis of a pericardial effusion was confirmed on ultrasound and an emergency referral was obtained. On arrival the patient was triaged and admitted to the ICU. Oxygen saturation (SpO2) was monitored using a pulse oximeter. Oxygen therapy was provided via flow by, but no medication was given at this point.

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