Kontrastmittelechokardiographisch gesteuerte perikarddrainage

Translated title of the contribution: Echocardiographically guided and contrast agent controlled pericardiocentesis

Guido Caspari*, Thomas Bartel, Stefan Möhlenkamp, Benedikt Bersch, Clemens Von Birgelen, Jens Krapp, Raimund Erbel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The most effective treatment for pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade is removal of the pericardial fluid. Surgical pericardiotomy is associated with high mortality and morbidity. Similarly, subcostal percutaneous blind pericardiocentesis was reported to have unacceptably high mortality and complication rates. Major complications associated with blind needle punctures are right heart penetration, hemopericardium, puncture of the coronary arteries, liver and lung bleeding. Even under fluoroscopic guidance and electrocardiographic needle monitoring high complication rates persist. Pericardial drainage has been often inadequate, with frequent recurrences of significant pericardial effusions. Two-dimensional echocardiographically guided pericardiocentesis is reported to improve efficacy and safety of percutaneous puncture. Moreover, it allows immediate verification of the procedural success. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of an echocardiographically guided contrast agent controlled pericardiocentesis. This is a retrospective, descriptive study on 126 consecutive patients who underwent percutaneous pericardiocentesis at the University Hospital Essen, Germany, from 1995 to June 2000. There were 51 women (41%) and 75 men (55%) with a mean age of 52 ± 14 years. Standard techniques for quantification of pericardial effusion were used. Depending on the localization of the pericardial effusion an apical or subxiphoidal approach was chosen. The puncture was performed under echocardiographic guidance and the position of the needle was controlled by injection of contrast agent. Over a long guidewire a pigtail catheter was inserted through a sheath for further drainge of pericardial fluid. The catheter was removed after a maximum of 48 hours to avoid infection of the pericardial cavity. An apical approach was chosen in 98 patients (78%), a subcostal in 28 patients (22%). The procedure was successful in 99% of the attempts. No death or clinical complication occured. The maximal pericardial diameter measured by two-dimensional echocardiography was 32 ± 16 mm before and 5.3 ± 2 mm after drainage. The calculated pericardial effusion was 657 ± 342 ml. A fluid volume of 605 ± 342 ml could be drained. In all patients a pericardial catheter was placed for 1.4 ± 0.8 days. Recurrence of pericardial effusion occured in 18 patients (14%). Of these, 15 patients underwent repeated successful pericardiocentesis (2.5 ± 0.8), and 3 patients were referred to surgical pericardiotomy. Pericardiocentesis under echocardiographic contrast agent guidance is a safe, successful and cost effective procedure for diagnostic and therapeutic drainage of pericardial effusion. Two-dimensional echocardiography allows localization of the optimal puncture site as well as the quantification of the effusion depth. The injection of contrast agents into the pericardial cavity improves the safety and accuracy of the procedure. Even recurrent pericardial effusions can be treated successfully.

Translated title of the contributionEchocardiographically guided and contrast agent controlled pericardiocentesis
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)755-760
Number of pages6
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Echocardiographically guided pericardiocentesis
  • Recurrent pericardial effusion
  • Risk of pericardiocentesis

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