Tetracycline sclerosis in the management of malignant pericardial effusion.
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Twenty-two patients with malignant pericardial effusion were seen at the Toronto General Hospital between 1979 and 1984. Under ECG monitoring, an indwelling Kifa catheter was inserted into the pericardial sac and then connected to a Hemovac system and allowed to drain for 12 to 24 hours. Xylocaine hydrochloride, 100 mg, was first instilled intrapericardially, followed by tetracycline hydrochloride, 500 to 1,000 mg, dissolved in 20 mL normal saline. The catheter was clamped for one to two hours and then allowed to drain into the Hemovac. This procedure was repeated every 24 to 48 hours until the net drainage was less than 25 mL/24 hours. Nine men and 13 women were treated (median age, 55 years). The primary malignancy included lung in 15 patients, breast in two patients, and carcinoma of the stomach, ovary, pleural mesothelioma, chronic granulocytic leukemia, and adenocarcinoma of unknown primary in one patient each. Twenty patients received one to five instillations of tetracycline. In one patient the catheter could not be inserted into the pericardial sac, and in one patient the catheter clotted before tetracycline instillation. Minor complications included transient arrhythmia in two patients, postinjection pain in four patients, and self-limited temperature elevation greater than 38.5 degrees C in two patients. fifteen patients had good control of their malignant pericardial effusion for more than 30 days (median survival, 160 days; range, 38 to 275 days). Three patients died before 30 days without evidence of effusion, and no patient surviving longer than 30 days developed recurrent effusion or pericardial constriction. Intrapericardial tetracycline instillation is a safe and efficacious treatment for malignant pericardial effusion and should be considered the first treatment modality in this situation.
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