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Gerard Martí Aguasca

, Bruno Garcia del Blanco

, and Jaume Sagristà Sauleda


February 22, 2018: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 11 July 2020

Cardiac tamponade is a life-threatening condition that may require the urgent removal of pericardial fluid. Therefore, the pericardiocentesis procedure should be part of the skills of physicians treating critically ill patients. The pericardiocentesis technique has evolved from a blind and unguided procedure, prone to complications, to a safer and more effective guided technique by using echocardiography or fluoroscopy. However, as in any invasive procedure, complications still occur. Therefore, indications should be restricted to patients with cardiac tamponade or a high suspicion of specific aetiologies when performed for diagnostic purposes. Accurate indications, optimal imaging assessment, knowledge of materials required, familiarization with different techniques, and rapid recognition of complications are key for a successful procedure.

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