BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPericardiocentesisPericardial tap; Percutaneous pericardiocentesis; Pericarditis - pericardiocentesis; Pericardial effusion - pericardiocentesisPericardiocentesis is a procedure that uses a needle to remove fluid from the pericardial sac. This is the tissue that surrounds the heart. How the Test is Performed The procedure is most often done in a special procedure room, such as a cardiac catheterization laboratory. It may also be done at a patient's hospital bedside. A health care provider will put an IV into your arm in case fluids or medicines need to be given through a vein. For example, you may be given medicines if your heartbeat slows or your blood pressure drops during the procedure.IVIntravenous means "within a vein. " Most often it refers to giving medicines or fluids through a needle or tube inserted into a vein. This allows th...Read Article Now Book Mark Article The provider will clean an area just below or next to the breastbone or below the left nipple. Numbing medicine (anesthetic) will be applied to the area.The doctor will then insert a needle and guide it into tissue that surrounds the heart. Often, echocardiography (ultrasound) is used to help the doctor see the needle and any fluid drainage. An electrocardiogram (ECG) and x-rays (fluoroscopy) may also be used to help with positioning.EchocardiographyAn echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. The picture and information it produces is more detailed than a s...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article ECGAn electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Previous imagePlay SlideshowStop SlideshowNext image / Once the needle has reached the correct area, it is removed and replaced with a tube called a catheter. Fluid drains through this tube into containers. Most of the time, the pericardial catheter is left in place so draining may continue for several hours.Surgical drainage may be needed if the problem is hard to correct or comes back. This is a more invasive procedure in which the pericardium is drained into the chest (pleural) cavity. Alternatively, the fluid may be drained into the peritoneal cavity, but this is less common. This procedure may need to be done under general anesthesia. How to Prepare for the Test You may not be able to eat or drink for 6 hours before the test. You must sign a consent form. How the Test will Feel You may feel pressure as the needle enters. Some people have chest pain, which may require pain medicine.Chest painChest pain is discomfort or pain that you feel anywhere along the front of your body between your neck and upper abdomen.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Why the Test is Performed This test may be done to remove and examine fluid that is pressing on the heart. It is most often done to find the cause of a chronic or recurrent pericardial effusion.Pericardial effusionPericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article It may also be done to treat cardiac tamponade, which is a life-threatening condition.Cardiac tamponadeCardiac tamponade is pressure on the heart that occurs when blood or fluid builds up in the space between the heart muscle and the outer covering sac...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Normal Results There is normally a small amount of clear, straw-colored fluid in the pericardial space. What Abnormal Results Mean Abnormal findings may indicate the cause of pericardial fluid accumulation, such as:Cancer CancerCancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Cardiac perforation Cardiac trauma Congestive heart failure Congestive heart failureHeart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This causes symptom...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Pericarditis PericarditisPericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Renal failure Infection Rupture of a ventricular aneurysmAneurysmAn aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a part of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Risks Risks may include:Bleeding Collapsed lung Heart attack Infection (pericarditis) Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) ArrhythmiasAn arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rate (pulse) or heart rhythm. The heart can beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregul...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Puncture of the heart muscle, coronary artery, lung, liver, or stomach Pneumopericardium (air in the pericardial sac) Open ReferencesReferencesHoit BD, Oh JK. Pericardial diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 68.Lewinter MM, Imazio M. Pericardial diseases. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 83.Mallemat HA, Tewelde SZ. Pericardiocentesis. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 16.AllVideoImagesTogHeart - front view - illustration The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.Heart - front viewillustrationPericardium - illustration The pericardial sac surrounds and protects the heart within the chest cavity.PericardiumillustrationHeart - front view - illustration The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.Heart - front viewillustrationPericardium - illustration The pericardial sac surrounds and protects the heart within the chest cavity.Pericardiumillustration Tests for Pericardiocentesis PericardiocentesisRelated Information Pericarditis(Condition)Cardiac tamponade(Condition)Heart failure(Condition)Cancer(Condition)Aneurysm(Condition)Heart failure(In-Depth) Review Date: 7/7/2020 Reviewed By: Thomas S. Metkus, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. 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