Aim: This was to evaluate our experience with patients who were diagnosed on table whilst undergoing tube pericardiostomy.
Methods: This is a 6-year retrospective study of all patients who had evident visible visceral constrictive pericarditis at tube pericardiostomy in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. The study was for all cases seen from January 2013 till December 2018.
Results: A total of 21 patients had tube pericardiostomy done during the period under review, whilst 13 patients had visualized thickened visceral pericardium with effusion making 61.9% of all cases of pericardiostomy seen within the period. The mean age was 38.9years with a male: female ratio of 1.3:1. All had serosanguinous pericardial effusion with debris and fibrinous material. The epicardium was visualized through the subxyphoid incision. All patients had irrigation of the pericardial space, creation of a pericardial window and the harvested pericaridium sent for histological analysis. They also had tube pericardiostomy which was subsequently connected to an underwater seal drainage bottle. Only 4 of those with ECP subsequently had pericardiectomy.
Conclusion: Preoperative diagnosis of effusive pericarditis is the norm, however in circumstances of limited diagnostic resources, visualization during tube pericardiostomy is advocated.