Percutaneous pericardial catheter drainage: report of 42 consecutive cases

Am J Cardiol. 1986 Sep 15;58(7):633-5. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(86)90290-0.


Test results of 42 consecutive patients with pericardial effusion treated with percutaneous pericardial drainage were analyzed. Intermittent (79%) or continuous (21%) drainage through a 60-cm pigtail catheter (No. 6Fr to 8Fr) was used. Clinical indications were urgent or semiurgent treatment of large (38%), life-threatening (24%), recurrent (21%) or acute (traumatic) (17%) pericardial effusion. Sixteen patients had a malignant cause for the effusion. Mean duration of use of the indwelling pericardial catheter was 3.5 days (range less than 1 day to 19 days). Two of the 9 catheters in patients on continuous drainage but only 1 of 33 catheters in patients on intermittent drainage became occluded. There was only 1 possible infective complication. Six patients had subsequent elective surgical intervention for persistent or recurrent effusion. Placement of an indwelling pericardial catheter guided by 2-dimensional echocardiography is safe and effective for initial treatment of selected pericardial effusions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pericardial Effusion / therapy*
  • Pericardium / surgery
  • Recurrence
  • Time Factors