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Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment and Side-Effects


Special care must be taken to protect the heart during the surgical and radiation treatment of pleural mesothelioma.  The heart is handled and stressed by the removal of the pericardium and this may result in an arrhythmia. In some cases, bleeding may occur into the heart sac, a condition called cardiac tamponade.

Equally serious but rarer problems are allowing air to find its way into the lung, having fluid leak from the chest cavity into the remaining lung, or fluid leaking into the bronchial tube. Infections or bleeding inside the chest cavity are always risks, as are contracting pneumonia in the remaining lung, or developing air leaks after stripping the lung of its pleura during a P/D procedure.

Both P/D and EPP surgical mesothelioma treatments should be considered major surgery, on a par with open heart or brain surgery. However, these protocols, when performed by experienced medical teams and supported by expert and experienced nursing care, can be the best chance for an extended survival in pleural mesothelioma.

Studies are currently ongoing to improve surgical results as well as studies to predict which group of patients will benefit from which type of therapy be it surgery, chemotherapy or a combination of both. The role of radiation and type of radiation to be applied in these mesothelioma treatments is also being investigated. We encourage patients to consider these treatment modalities only at specialized centers who have published the results of their surgical series in peer reviewed journals, and are currently conducting clinical trials in PD or EPP.

Maintaining awareness of the possible side-effects can help you or your loved one prepare for treatment. Contact the Mesothelioma Foundation  for more information, news and support.

Searching for more Information on the Side Effects following the Surgical Treatment of Pleural Mesothelioma? Please browse the list of resources below:

Incidence of atrial fibrillation after extrapleural pneumonectomy vs. pleurectomy in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Morbidity, mortality, mean survival, and the impact of histology on survival after pleurectomy in 64 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Prognostic features of long-term survivors after surgical management of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Symptomatic and quality of life changes after extrapleural pneumonectomy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.