Complications of percutaneous pericardiocentesis under fluoroscopic guidance

Acta Radiol. 1992 Jul;33(4):309-13.


Complications in 352 cases of fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous pericardiocentesis accomplished through an indwelling catheter were reviewed following surgery and non-surgery. Thirteen major complications were found, namely 3 cardiac perforations, 2 cardiac arrhythmias, 4 cases of arterial bleeding, 2 cases of pneumothorax in children, one infection, and one major vagal reaction. No significant difference in complications was found between pericardiocenteses for pericardial effusions after cardiac surgery (n = 208) and those for effusions of non-surgical (n = 144) origin. Fluoroscopy-guided pericardiocentesis by the subxiphoid approach with placement of an indwelling catheter is a safe method for achieving pericardial drainage in both surgical and non-surgical effusions. Accidental cardiac perforation with a fine needle is a minor complication as long as the needle is directed towards the anterior diaphragmatic border of the right ventricle and drainage is achieved with a reliable indwelling catheter.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drainage / adverse effects*
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Pericardial Effusion / therapy*