Cardiac reoperations, particularly for coronary revascularization, are becoming more frequent and carry increased risk of damage to the heart during resternotomy. We experimentally evaluated a pericardial meshing technique to facilitate primary pericardial closure. In 18 mongrel dogs, an 8 by 5 cm pericardial flap was fashioned through a left thoracotomy. A standardized procedure for induction of pericardial adhesions was carried out in all animals. Animals were divided into three groups of six animals each: Group I (control) - the pericardial flap was primarily resutured; Group II - the flap was meshed and then resutured; and Group III - the flap was replaced by a pericardial substitute. Animals were put to death 8 weeks postoperatively and the pericardial space was examined for adhesions and epicardial reaction. The extent of adhesions and epicardial reaction was graded as: 0 - none; 1 - minimal; 2 - moderate; and 3 - severe. Both in Group I and Group III severe pericardial adhesions (grade 2-3) and epicardial reactions (grade 2-3) were formed, which obscured the underlying coronary anatomy. In Group II pericardial adhesions and epicardial reactions were none to minimal (grade 0-1) and the underlying coronary anatomy was not obscured. The meshed pericardium was completely regenerated by normal pericardium within several weeks. This study demonstrates that pericardial meshing facilitates primary tension-free pericardial closure. Free drainage of intrapericardial blood is achieved. A complete anatomic layer between heart and sternum is restored. Pericardial meshing is superior to the pericardial substitutes examined, as adhesions and epicardial reactions are significantly reduced, and the coronary anatomy is readily identifiable.