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Two patients with recurrent symptomatic pericardial effusions secondary to malignant disease were successfully treated by percutaneous balloon pericardiotomy. Open surgery was avoided and the procedure was completed under local anaesthesia in less than 40 minutes. The first patient was free of recurrence at nine months but pericardial effusion recurred at two months in the second patient.
Percutaneous balloon pericardiotomy offers a potentially important new means of relieving recurrent tamponade and substantially reduces trauma to the patient.