Briefly, pericardiectomy is the surgical removal of the pericardium, the membrane sac that surrounds the heart. Pericardiectomy becomes inevitable when the pericardium becomes stiff and calcific, hindering the heart from functioning properly. When the entire pericardium is stripped surgically, the cardiac functions are regained. This surgical method is called radical pericardiectomy.


Pericardiectomy may cause excessive bleeding, damage on nerves or arteries or even death. In the post-op term, there is a risk of scar infection or mediastinitis.

Obviously, pericardiectomy is a risky and very invasive surgical method. Despite all these risks involved, the fatal risk of the method is 5%.


Since the cardiac functions are normalized after the operation, the life quality of the patient increases palpably. Similar to other open-heart surgery techniques, there are certain points the patients need to be careful about.

  • After the pericardiectomy operation, patients must avoid tiresome exercises until the scar is healed. The healing lasts for about 6 weeks.
  • Deep breath and coughing exercises must be repeated for 2-3 times a day for at least two weeks.
  • After the completion of the scar healing, exercising lightly can be beneficial for the lungs.
  • Patients should take their time before getting back to social life. They have to avoid tiresome work and do easier physical activities.
  • Stress is also a key factor. Both the patients and family members should do their best to create a peaceful and calmer environment.