Table of Contents
SRX Veterinary Science
Volume 2010, Article ID 725492, 7 pages
Review Article

Interventional Treatment of Pericardial Effusion

Department of Anatomy & Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-1407, USA

Received 29 August 2009; Accepted 25 October 2009

Copyright © 2010 Annika Linde and Tonatiuh Melgarejo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pericardial effusion involves fluid accumulation within the pericardial sac, and may be a fatal condition pending the volume of accumulated fluid, the chronicity, and whether timely therapy is instituted. The frequency and etiology of pericardial effusion cases can vary quite significantly, not only between different species but also among diverse geographical areas. The often fragile clinical state of patients within this category requires instantaneous and efficacious therapy involving a minimum of stress. The gold standard for immediate ambulatory treatment of compromising pericardial effusion is percutaneous pericardiocentesis, which is the focus of this brief methodology paper. The techniques used for performing pericardiocentesis and pericardial lavage in small and large animals species, respectively, are described.