Creating a pericardial window is a procedure that drains excess fluid from the chest by removing a portion of the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart).
In certain cases of lung cancer, fluid can accumulate in the upper chest cavity near the heart. The fluid can then penetrate the pericardium (called pericardial effusion). Increased pressure on the heart resulting from pericardial effusion causes the heart to work less effectively.
What does it involve?
The procedure is performed under general anesthetic. An incision is made in the chest wall under the breastbone to allow access to the pericardium. The surgeon then removes part of the pericardium so excess fluid can drain into the chest or abdomen.
Side effects of pericardial window surgery can include infection, bleeding, damage to the heart, heart failure, and, rarely, death.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Palliative Procedures for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer — American Cancer Society
Pericardial Window — Johns Hopkins Medicine