(Pericardial Tap; Cardiac Needle Aspiration)
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Reasons for Procedure
- Needle damage to an organ in the chest, like the lung or heart
- Disruption of the heart’s normal rhythm
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Blood tests
- Chest x-rays
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)—a test that records the heart’s activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
- Echocardiogram —an ultrasound test to assess the heart
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- You will need to restrict your intake of fluid and food prior to the procedure. The doctor or nurse will give you specific instructions.
- If you have diabetes, ask your doctor how to adjust your medications for the procedure.
Description of Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incisions
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the insertion site
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Cough, difficulty breathing, or chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
Brockman RG, Ziskind AA. Pericardiocentesis and associated treatment of pericardial effusion. Cardiac Intensive Care. 1998;657-663.
Pericardial effusion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 15, 2010. Accessed January 23, 2013.
Pericardiocentesis. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/services/pericardiocentisis. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Spodick DH. Acute cardiac tamponade. N Engl J Med. 2003;349(7):684-690.
Tibbles CD, Porcaro W. Procedural applications of ultrasound. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2004;22(3):797-815.
What is pericarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/What-is-Pericarditis%5FUCM%5F444931%5FArticle.jsp. Updated July 29, 2014. Accessed December 30, 2014.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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