Previously reported clinical studies have suggested sodium hydroxide as an effective agent in causing pleural symphysis. To explore the sclerosing poten tial of this agent, we instilled 0.5% sodium hydroxide into the pericardium of four dogs. Normal saline was instilled into the pericardium of one control dog. Echocardiograms, 24 hour EKG monitoring and intracardiac pressures were recorded. One dog was sacrificed at the end of 24 hours, another at the end of seven days and three other dogs were sacrificed at the end of 28 days. ST elevations and prolonged episodes of supra-ventricular and ventricular tachycardia were noted during and within 24 hours after the intrapericardial instillation of sodium hydroxide in all the dogs. No arrhythmias were noted in the control dog. None of the dogs showed pericardial symphysis. These results suggest that sodium hydroxide causes serious cardiac arrhythmias when in stilled intrapericardially and is of limited value in causing pericardial sym physis.