Recurrent Pericardial Effusion following Diaphragmatic Hernia Repair


West Florida


Citrus Memorial Hospital

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



pericardial effusion, hernia repair


Cardiovascular Diseases | Internal Medicine | Surgical Procedures, Operative


The pericardial space is defined as the cavity between the visceral and parietal pericardium and it normally contains 10-50 mL of fluid. A pericardial effusion exists when the intrapericardial volume exceeds these limits. Any process that causes inflammation, injury, or decreased lymphatic drainage can cause a pericardial effusion. We present a rare case of recurrent pericardial effusion due to inflammation from recent diaphragmatic hernia repair. A 52-year-old female with history of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, hypothyroidism, depression, and gastroesophageal reflux disease was evaluated for lightheadedness and dizziness following recent diaphragmatic hernia repair. Imaging studies revealed postoperative pericardial effusion requiring pericardiocentesis and a pericardial window due to reaccumulation of pericardial fluid. Over the next several months patient had multiple hospital admission for recurrent pericardial effusion. With every hospitalization it was more evident that her pericardial effusions could be due to inflammation from her recent diaphragmatic hernia repair. The most severe complication following diaphragmatic hernia repair is cardiac tamponade. The small distance between the diaphragm and pericardium increases risk of injury during diaphragmatic hernia repair. Increased awareness can help prevent serious complications associated with diaphragmatic hernia repair.

Publisher or Conference

International Journal of Clinical Cardiology