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I went into my prompt care for a cough I had been having for a few months, and as I have a history of melanoma I asked for a chest xray. That came back irregular, which sent me to get a CT. That showed a large pericardial effusion as well as a tumor. They sent me to ER but heart function was normal aside from the effusion so I was to go home then back for a needle biopsy on the tumor. While doing the needle biopsy my lung got punctured and I ended up going back to the ER, which resulted in an 11 day hospital stay as the ER Dr. did not like how the pericardial effusion looked when seeing it on an echo. I had a chest tube for lungs, another lymph node removed, and a catheter for the pericardial effusion. The catheter was tried unsuccessfully 3 times, but the fluid kept coming back. It tested positive for melanoma, which I had at a stage 1B back in 2013. We finally decided to do the pericardial window. I had the drain in for a little more than 3 weeks. When pulled it had been 75 cc or a little below for a few days, and a few days before that it was at 100 cc. Obviously I am glad to have it out, and none of the Drs seemed worried at all. I am of course worried, every time I cough I think it is coming back. From what I understand, the window is a permanent solution to prevent it from building up again, and if it does come back it should just go directly to waste and not do any harm. Is this correct? Is there a possibility of this coming back and having to have more surgery? My Dr said that they had not seen that happen. I am not able to find a lot online. Thanks for any help!!

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Replies to "I went into my prompt care for a cough I had been having for a few..."

Hi there,
Sadly, things don’t always go as planned.
My cousin also had pericardial effusion. He had two pericardiocentesis procedures which removed a lot of fluid. The fluid quickly
re-accumulated so he had a pericardial window. This too failed to control the large amount of fluid so a second window was done, this time a subxiphoid window. It too was unsuccessful so they had to remove as much of his pericardium as possible. This was successful however during one of the surgeries a nerve was damaged or cut, probably the phrenic nerve that controls the diaphragm. Now some of his abdominal organs are in his chest and because the diaphragm is partially paralyzed he’s on oxygen 24/7. The cause of the fluid has never been determined.
Good luck,