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A pericardiectomy is a procedure done on the sac around the heart. A surgeon cuts away this sac or a large part of this sac. This allows the heart to move freely.

Pericardiectomy is most often needed in people with chronic constrictive pericarditis. Conditions that can cause constrictive pericarditis include:


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Cancer  
  • Infection of the heart or pericardial sac
  • Inflammation of the pericardial sac due to a heart attack
  • Radiation therapy to the chest
  • Reactions to certain medicines
  • Metabolic causes, like an underactive thyroid

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