Uremic pericardial effusion. Treatment by catheter drainage and local nonabsorbable steroid administration

T. J. Buselmeier, R. L. Simmons, J. S. Najarian, S. M. Mauer, A. J. Matas, C. M. Kjellstrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Pericardial drainage via percutaneous catheter placement and local nonabsorbable steroid instillation was employed as definitive therapy for uremic patients who had intractable pericardial effusions. Twelve patients are reported. Prior daily dialysis, and in one case systemic steroids, were not curative. 11 of 12 cases suffered severe tamponade requiring pericardiocentesis. One patient had an organized pericardial effusion, making pericardiocentesis impossible. He required pericardiectomy with prolonged hospitalization (2 weeks) due to postoperative complications. There were no complications in the 11 patients where catheter drainage and local steroid instillation were employed. No patient had recurrence of his pericardial effusion (followed from 2 weeks to 32 months). Instillation of a relatively nonabsorbable steroid through an indwelling pericardial catheter provides immediate and lasting relief without either the inconvenience or postoperative complications and prolonged hospitalization associated with the surgical procedure of pericardial fenestration. This report offers initial evidence that the percutaneous approach may be a safe and effective alternative to pericardial fenestration in most uremic patients with pericardial effusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1976


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