What is Excision of the Right Atrial Appendage?

Excision of the right atrial appendage is a surgical procedure of the heart, focusing on the aortic body. This form of cardiac surgery is used to remove aortic body tumors, which commonly affect dog breeds related to the bull dog. Excision of the right atrial appendage procedures are primarily carried out by a veterinary cardiologist, which may require a referral from the primary veterinary physician. Paired with chemotherapy, canines that have undergone excision of the right atrial appendage have a relatively fair survival rate. 

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Excision of the Right Atrial Appendage Procedure in Dogs

The veterinary cardiologist will achieve right atrial hemangiosarcoma excision through a median sternotomy or right intercostal thoracotomy approach. In most cases, median sternotomy is preferred as this approach facilitates subtotal pericardiectomy. 

  1. The pericardium is opened to expose the right atrial appendage and present tumor. 
  2. The atrial appendage is clamped with a tangential vascular clamp. 
  3. The appendage with the atrial body tumor is excised. 
  4. The incision is closed with a continuous horizontal mattress pattern followed by a simple continuous suture pattern. In some cases, a surgical stapling device may be used in replace of the suture pattern. 

Efficacy of Excision of the Right Atrial Appendage in Dogs

Excision of the right atrial appendage is an effective procedure for removing a hemangiosarcoma. The median survival time for a canine following an this procedure is approximately four months without adjuvant chemotherapy. Paired with chemotherapy treatments, the estimated survival time for the canine increases to a year. 

Excision of the Right Atrial Appendage Recovery in Dogs

Following an excision of the right atrial appendage, the canine will be hospitalized for a couple days for monitoring purposes. Once the canine is allowed to return home, exercise restrictions will be put into place but relative activities is required to keep blood flowing through the surgical site. A follow-up appointment is expected between two and four weeks after the surgery to evaluate the canine’s condition and recovery. 

Cost of Excision of the Right Atrial Appendage in Dogs

Excision of the right atrial appendage is an expensive procedure, costing dog owners anywhere from $1,800 to $5,000. Aftercare medication and hospitalization can increase the overall price, so extra costs should be considered. The total price for an excision of the right atrial appendage in each dog depends on the specific case. 

Dog Excision of the Right Atrial Appendage Considerations

The estimated survival time for a dog following the procedure is limited to a few months to years. Additional treatments are often required following excision of the right atrial appendage, which may not be cost effective for the pet owner. Like any surgical procedure, the dog will risk the chance of blood clots and infection near the surgical site, which could be fatal. Superb aftercare is required to avoid post-surgical complications. Speak with your veterinarian for a complete understanding of the risks associated with the procedure.

Excision of the Right Atrial Appendage Prevention in Dogs

Excision of the right atrial appendage surgery is used to remove aortic body tumors. Tumors are abnormal cellular growth in a localized area of the body that can be either benign or malignant. Like all types of tumors, the source of this irregular cell growth is still being pursued and no definite prevention methods are known. That being said, veterinarians have advised pet owners to feed their dog a healthy diet, engage in physical exercise with their pet daily, and have regular check-ups with their veterinarian.