Pericardiocentesis is a procedure in which a syringe and needle are passed through the chest wall and into the pericardial space in order to aspirate fluid. Pericardiocentesis has the potential to save someone's life, particularly in a situation of cardiovascular extremis resulting from tamponade. It also has the ability to kill, and therefore should not be undertaken lightly or without undue thought to the potential risks and harms associated with it. Indeed, blind pericardiocentesis (i.e. without ultrasound or CT guidance) carries a 10% mortality rate and a 50% morbidity rate.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
From the Divisions of Oncology and Cardiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305. This work was supporteidn pati by Grants CA-08122 and CA-05838 from the National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland. Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. E. William Hancock, Cardiology Division, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305. Manuscript accepted May 22, 1978. l Present address: Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, 750 Harrison Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02118.
© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012.