Pericardiocentesis

This is a procedure in which a needle is used to draw up fluid from the sac which surrounds the heart. This is often used as treatment for patients with increased fluid around the heart. Fluid in the sac around the heart is called a pericardial effusion. It is sometimes used for diagnostic studies in which the fluid can be examined under a microscope so that your caregiver can determine the reason for the problem which is causing increased fluid around the heart.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

Possible fluid restriction for 4-6 hours prior to testing if directed by your caregiver.

NORMAL FINDINGS

A minimal amount of clear, straw-colored fluid without evidence of any bacteria, blood, or malignant cells would be normal findings you would usually see.

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.