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Oklahoma State University

Heart Patient Doing Well

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Dr. Jennifer Bianchi and Maverick

Drs. Jennifer and Mark Bianchi, veterinarians of Edmond, Oklahoma, recently reported that their dog, Maverick, an 11-year-old Corgi, is doing great two months after undergoing heart surgery at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.

This past December, Maverick experienced a collapsing episode that prompted a diagnostic workup. Impaired cardiac function due to a build-up of fluid (“effusion”) in the sac surrounding the heart was identified and initially managed by minimally-invasive catheter drainage (“thoracocentesis”). When the effusion and collapsing episodes returned in April, the Bianchi’s brought Maverick to OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital to see Dr. Ryan Baumwart, a board-certified veterinary cardiologist. Dr. Baumwart concluded Maverick’s effusion was likely benign (non-cancerous) but nonetheless life-threatening and so he recommended surgery to address the problem.

Termed a “subtotal pericardectomy,” Maverick’s surgical procedure was performed by OSU’s Dr. Erik Clary, a board-certified small animal surgeon.

Dr. Clary explained, “With this procedure, we remove most of the sac surrounding the heart so that fluid will not accumulate and press against the wall of the heart but instead will flow into the chest cavity and be reabsorbed.”

Pericardial effusion, he noted, also occurs in people and, when benign, it is often managed in the same way—typically, with a minimally-invasive “thoracoscopic” technique. Maverick’s procedure began that way, but after encountering a much thickened heart sac, internal adhesions, and a very constricted working space, Clary concluded it necessary to access the heart sac through a traditional sternal incision (“sternotomy”). The procedure went very well.

After surgery, Maverick spent several days in the hospital’s small animal intensive care unit. Once the temporary chest drain was removed and Maverick’s cardiac function had rebounded sufficiently, he was discharged to the care of his owners.

His recovery has been truly remarkable. As the Bianchi’s reported, “The four medical doctors who watched this dog collapse [in December] were pretty impressed to see him run and swim 6 weeks after surgery without missing a beat. The cardiologist said his [human] patients aren’t this active post-op for months.”

Indeed, Maverick has been able to resume his normal routine, which for the summer includes kayaking and sailing. “We are very happy for Maverick and his owners to hear that he is doing so well,” stated Clary.

MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences | 405-744-6740 |

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