[Skip to Navigation]
December 1982

Traumatic Pericardiocentesis: Two-Dimensional Echocardiographic Visualization of an Unfortunate Event

Author Affiliations

From the Cardiology Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville.

Arch Intern Med. 1982;142(13):2327-2329. doi:10.1001/archinte.142.13.2327

• Two-dimensional echocardiography was performed simultaneously with pericardiocentesis in an attempt to visualize the pericardiocentesis needle. Rapid penetration of the right ventricular myocardium by the pericardiocentesis needle occurred and was only appreciated in a slow-motion analysis of the two-dimensional echocardiogram videotape. Development of an intrapericardial thrombus was clearly detected by the two-dimensional echocardiogram within 24 hours following this traumatic pericardiocentesis. While two-dimensional echocardiography may offer the possibility for seeing the pericardiocentesis needle, technical considerations may limit the easy visualization of the pericardiocentesis needle and accurate localization of its tip. However, two-dimensional echocardiography may be useful in identifying consequences of suspected or proved traumatic pericardiocentesis procedures.