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THE JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY
Rivista di Chirurgia Cardiaca, Vascolare e Toracica
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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CASE REPORTS THORACIC PAPERS
The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 1999 December;40(6):909-13
Pericardial cysts of the mediastinum
Cangemi V., Volpino P., Gualdi G.*, Polettini E.*, Frati R., Cangemi B., Piat G.
From the 1st Department of Surgery *1st Department of Medicine University “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
Pericardial cysts are an uncommon benign disease. Their treatment, in the past, was based on excision by thoracotomy or, in selected cases, on percutaneous aspiration. The progress of video-assisted thoracoscopy gave new possibilities, but most surgeons still consider the thoracotomic approach as the treatment of choice. The aim of this study is to report our experience and to discuss the role of different therapeutic procedures in the management of pericardial cysts. Between 1970 and 1996, 24 patients with pericardial cysts were treated at the first Department of Surgery of the University of Rome «La Sapienza». Of 24 cysts, six were located in the right cardiophrenic angle, three in the left cardiophrenic angle, two in the subcarenal areas, one in the paracardiac area and one on the posterior mediastinum. Ten patients were asymptomatic. Diagnosis was performed preoperatively only in patients with cysts typically located in the cardiophrenic angle. Twenty-three patients were surgically treated by a standard posterolateral thoracotomy or limited thoracotomy with sparing of muscles. One patient underwent CT- guided transparietal fine-needle aspiration. There were no cases of operative mortality. Morbidity was 12.5% and consisted of retained secretions, moderate hypoxemia and partial atelectasis. All patients were submitted to a long-term follow-up and no cyst recurrences were found. We conclude that excision via thoracotomy is an optimal treatment for pericardial cysts. Limited thoracotomy with sparing muscles offers a good cosmetic result and a rapid functional respiratory recovery. Percutaneous cyst aspiration may be, in selected patients, an attractive alternative to surgery.