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      Prolonged Drainage and Intrapericardial Bleomycin Administration for Cardiac Tamponade Secondary to Cancer-Related Pericardial Effusion

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          Malignant pericardial effusion (MPE) is a serious complication of several cancers. The most commonly involved solid tumors are lung and breast cancer. MPE can give rise to the clinical picture of cardiac tamponade, a life threatening condition that needs immediate drainage. While simple pericardiocentesis allows resolution of the symptoms, MPE frequently relapses unless further procedures are performed. Prolonged drainage, talcage with antineoplastic agents, or surgical creation of a pleuro-pericardial window are the most commonly suggested ones. They all result in MPE resolution and high rates of long-term control. Patients suitable for further systemic treatments can have a good prognosis irrespective of the pericardial site of disease. We prospectively enrolled patients with cardiac tamponade treated with prolonged drainage associated with Bleomycin administration.

          Twenty-two consecutive patients with MPE and associated signs of hemodynamical compromise underwent prolonged drainage and subsequent Bleomycin administration. After injection of 100 mg lidocaine hydrochloride, 10 mg Bleomycin was injected into the pericardial space. The catheter was clumped for 48 h and then reopened. Removal was performed when the drainage volume was <25 mL daily.

          Twelve patients (54%) achieved complete response and 9 (41%) a partial response. Only 1 (5%) had a treatment failure and underwent a successful surgical procedure. Acute toxicity was of a low degree and occurred in 7 patients (32%). It consisted mainly in thoracic pain and supraventricular arrhythmia. The 1-year pericardial effusion progression-free survival rate was 74.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 51.0–97.3). At a median follow-up of 75 months, a pericardial progression was detected in 4 patients (18%). One- and two-year overall survival rates were 33.9% (95% CI: 13.6–54.2) and 14.5% (95% CI: 0.0–29.5), respectively, with lung cancer patients having a shorter survival than breast cancer patients. The worst prognosis, however, was shown in patients not suitable for systemic treatments, irrespective of the site of the primary tumor.

          Prolonged drainage and intrapericardial Bleomycin is a safe and effective treatment, which should be considered as first choice at least in patients suitable for active systemic treatment.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Cardiac metastases.

          The authors found metastases to the heart in 10.7% of 1029 autopsy cases in which a malignant neoplasm was diagnosed. The lung was the commonest primary site (36.4%) and adenocarcinoma was the most frequent cell type (36.4%) of neoplasms metastatic to heart. Nonepithelial tumors accounted for 22.7% of cardiac metastases. Epicardium was involved in 75.5% of metastatic lesions and a pericardial effusion was present with 33.7% of epicardial metastases. Although hemorrhagic effusions occurred in only 12 cases with metastases to heart, these represented 76.4% of all such effusions. Lymphomas associated with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome showed the most extensive cardiac involvement. Primary sites and cell types of cardiac metastases have evolved over time and have been modified by chemotherapy, increased survival of cancer patients, increasing incidence of lung carcinoma, and recently by the acquired immune deficiency syndrome epidemic.
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            Neoplasms metastatic to the heart: review of 3314 consecutive autopsies.

            Cardiac involvement by metastatic neoplasms is relatively uncommon and usually occurs with widely disseminated disease. Ninety-five cases with cardiac metastases from autopsies performed over a 14-year period (1974-1987) at Loyola University Medical Center are reviewed. During this period, 3314 autopsies were performed with an average annual autopsy rate of 35%. In 806 (24.3%), a malignant disease was found, and in 95 (11.8%), there was cardiac involvement by tumor. The most common malignancies encountered in order of decreasing frequency were lung, lymphoma, breast, leukemia, stomach, melanoma, liver, and colon. Although the percentage of cardiac metastasis compares favorably with previous reports in the literature, an identical rate was present during both halves of the 14-year period studied. Improved diagnostic capabilities and treatment protocols in recent years have apparently not significantly affected the incidence, distribution, or patterns of metastatic spread to the heart.
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              Treatment of malignant pericardial effusion.

              To discuss the diagnosis and treatment of malignant pericardial effusion and focus on quantitating the success and complication rates of the many treatment modalities and updating recent advances in the field. English-language publications were identified by a computerized search (MEDLINE) of these key words: cancer, tumor, malignancy, pericardium, and pericardial effusion. This computerized search was supplemented by a manual search of the bibliographies of original research articles and textbooks. Studies were included if the outcome of patients undergoing treatment for malignant pericardial effusion was reported separately from the outcome of patients with other causes of pericardial effusions. Studies that only reported the combined results of patients with malignant and nonmalignant effusions were excluded. To determine success rates for the various treatment modalities, we examined freedom from symptomatic recurrence of pericardial effusion requiring reintervention as the key end point. Where appropriate, we also examined procedural mortality rates. Initial relief of symptoms is achieved in most cases with percutaneous pericardiocentesis that, with echocardiographic guidance, can be performed with low morbidity and mortality. In many cases, drainage for several days with an indwelling catheter alleviates the effusion without subsequent recurrence. Systemic antitumor therapy with chemotherapy or radiation therapy is effective in controlling malignant effusions in cases of sensitive tumors such as lymphomas, leukemias, and breast cancer. Local sclerotherapy with tetracycline hydrochloride or bleomycin sulfate is also effective and associated with low morbidity. Sclerotherapy with other agents or radionuclides offers no advantages. Of the several surgical options, subxiphoid pericardiotomy has the advantage of low morbidity and mortality, can often be performed under local anesthesia, and is highly effective in preventing recurrence. Percutaneous balloon pericardiotomy has recently been described. This intervention is performed with local anesthesia, is effective in preventing reaccumulation, and has a low morbidity. Treatment of malignant pericardial effusions must be individualized with consideration given to the patient's condition and tumor type, the success rates and risks of the various modalities, and local availability and expertise.

                Author and article information

                Medicine (Baltimore)
                Medicine (Baltimore)
                Wolters Kluwer Health
                April 2016
                18 April 2016
                : 95
                : 15
                From the Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera SS Antonio e Biagio e C Arrigo, Alessandria (GN, PP); Medical Oncology and Hematology (AC, AM) and Cardiology (MS), Azienda USL della Valle d’Aosta, Aosta; Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Croce e Carle, Cuneo (MO, EF, IC, MM); and Medical Oncology Unit, National Cancer Research Centre “Giovanni Paolo II”, Bari (NS), Italy.
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Gianmauro Numico, Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera SS. Antonio e Biagio e C. Arrigo, Via Venezia 16, 15121 Alessandria, Italy (e-mail: gianmauro.numico@ ).
                Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, where it is permissible to download, share and reproduce the work in any medium, provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be used commercially.

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