Pictured Above is the Pericardium
An invasive procedure that involves using a needle and catheter to remove fluid from the sac around the heart. The fluid may then be sent to a laboratory for tests to look for signs of infection or cancer.
Your doctor uses pericardiocentesis to:
- determine cause of fluid around the heart
- relieve symptoms, such as shortness of breath
- diagnose infection or cancer
- You can wear whatever you like to the hospital. You will wear a hospital gown during the procedure.
- Leave all valuables at home.
- Your doctor or nurse will give you specific instructions about what you can and cannot eat or drink before the procedure.
- Ask your doctor what medications should be taken on the day of your test.
- If you are diabetic, ask your physician how to adjust your medications the day of your test.
- Tell your doctor and/or nurses if you are allergic to anything.
- Bring all medications and any previous test results.
- You will need a companion to bring you home.
What to expect:
- You will be given a hospital gown to wear.
- The room is cool and dimly lit. You will lie on a special table
- You will be given a mild sedative to relax you, but you will be awake and conscious during the entire procedure.
- The doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb an area on your chest. A needle will be inserted and then a catheter (a thin plastic tube) into the pericardial sac around your heart. The doctor may use a x-ray or echocardiograph machine to make sure the catheter is positioned correctly. The doctor will drain the fluid that has collected around your heart.
- When the fluid has been removed, the catheter will be removed.
The procedure takes about 20 to 60 minutes.
Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about pericardiocentesis.