A pericardial window is a cardiac surgical procedure to create a fistula – or “window” – from the pericardial space to the pleural cavity. The purpose of the window is to allow a pericardial effusion (usually malignant) to drain from the space surrounding the heart into the chest cavity – where the fluid is not as dangerous; an untreated pericardial effusion can lead to cardiac tamponade and death.

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