Novel use of a disposable digital pressure transducer to increase the safety of pericardiocentesis

Authors

  • Gautam K. Visweswaran MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA
    • Department of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
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  • James Lightfoot MD,

    1. Penn State's Heart & Vascular Institute, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA
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  • Ian C. Gilchrist MD, FSCAI

    1. Penn State's Heart & Vascular Institute, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA
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  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

Cardiac tamponade represents a medical emergency necessitating emergent pericardiocentesis. Use of two-dimensional echocardiography (ECHO) has improved the safety of pericardiocentesis, but procedural challenges may occur when performed in an emergent manner outside of the catheterization laboratory without availability of fluoroscopy and readily available pressure transducers. The most problematic situation is the initial finding of bloody fluid on aspiration where intrapericardial versus intravascular location of the needle must be determined. We report two cases of cardiac tamponade managed with the use of a novel, disposable lightweight digital pressure transducer to directly measure intrapericardial pressures during an ECHO guided pericardiocentesis. In both cases the fluid initially encountered was grossly bloody and rapid definition of whether this was pericardial fluid versus an inappropriately located needle in the vascular space was critical. This type of novel, disposable self contained manometer has the potential to further minimize complications associated with pericardiocentesis. It offers a cost effective alternative and answers questions about the shifting point of service for pericardiocentesis from the invasive cath lab to less costly locations (Drummond, et al., J Am Soc Echocardiogr 1998;11:433–435). © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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