INTRODUCTION: Erdheim-Chester disease is a rare, non-Langerhans histiocytosis in which pericardial involvement is diagnosed with increasing frequency and is associated with high mortality rates. PRESENTATION OF CASE: A 53-year-old woman presented with progressive exertional dyspnea and pericardial effusion was discovered. Further investigations revealed the presence of a diffuse, infiltrating process and a diagnosis of Erdheim-Chester disease was made. An emergent pericardiocentesis by subxiphoid approach was completed but recurrent drainage obviated removal of the pigtail catheter. A pleuro-pericardial window was placed using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and analysis of the resected specimen confirmed pericardial involvement. DISCUSSION: In this case, high pericardial fluid output demanded definitive treatment of the pericardial effusion. Traditionally this would be completed via thoracotomy. VATS is a minimally invasive alternative which permits exploration of the thoracic cavity and the creation of a pleuropericardial window. CONCLUSION: We describe, for the first time, the successful use of VATS for both diagnostic confirmation and therapeutic relief of recurrent pericardial fluid drainage due to pericardial involvement by Erdheim-Chester diseas.
- Pericardial effusion
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