Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 1328–1333 | Cite as

Novel, Long-axis In-plane Ultrasound-Guided Pericardiocentesis for Postoperative Pericardial Effusion Drainage

  • Mark A. Law
  • Santiago Borasino
  • Yuvraj Kalra
  • Jeffrey A. AltenEmail author
Original Article


Pericardial effusion can be a life-threatening complication in children after cardiac surgery. Percutaneous pericardiocentesis is associated with rare, but serious complications. This retrospective study describes our experience with a novel, long-axis in-plane real-time ultrasound (US)-guided technique for postoperative pericardial effusion drainage in small children. Ten out of sixteen procedures were performed within 14 days of cardiac surgery at a median postoperative day 12 (IQR 2, 99). Median age was 2.7 months (IQR 0.4124) and weight 4.5 kg (IQR 2.5, 41.6). All but one procedure required a single attempt. Fourteen out of sixteen procedures had subxiphoid approach, and two were apical. Median initial drainage was 9 mL/kg (IQR 4.5, 27). Fifty percent of effusions were serous, 25 % chylous, and the remainder bloody. There were no reported complications. This study demonstrates a novel, long-axis pericardiocentesis technique that allows for an easy and safe needle entry into the pericardial space for small children in the early postoperative period.


Ultrasound Pericardiocentesis Congenital heart disease Postoperative Neonate 



This study was funded by University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pediatric Cardiology funds.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required. This waiver was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (AVI 6286 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (AVI 7059 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Law
    • 1
  • Santiago Borasino
    • 2
  • Yuvraj Kalra
    • 2
  • Jeffrey A. Alten
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric CardiologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Section of Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Medicine, UAB Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care MedicineUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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