Pericardial drainage can be a risky procedure, though few serious or life-threatening complications occur when it is performed by an experienced doctor. It is possible for the needle to puncture your heart or one of your blood vessels. In rare cases, the needle may also puncture your lung, your liver, or your stomach. These complications may require surgery to repair.
If the needle touches your heart, you may have an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), but the irregularity usually stops when the needle is removed. In rare cases, this type of arrhythmia can cause death. There is also a slight chance of spreading infection from the skin to the pericardial space when the needle is inserted.
After the test
After leaving the hospital, call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have:
- Chest pain or Reference symptoms of a heart attack Opens New Window.
- Reference Moderate to severe trouble breathing Opens New Window.
- Reference Signs of shock Opens New Window.
Call your doctor immediately if you:
- Vomit blood.
- Have a fever.
- Are short of breath.
- Feel dizzy.
- Have lower-than-normal blood pressure.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 13, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference George Philippides, MD - Cardiology