Skip to main content


  • Reference work entry
  • 214 Accesses


Pericardial drainage procedure; Subxiphoid pericardial window


A surgical opening made in the pericardial sac in order to drain pericardial fluid, exudates if infectious in nature, or blood to relieve tamponade and restore normal cardiac physiology.

A surgical procedure that entails making an opening in the pericardial sac in order to diagnose penetrating cardiac injury.

Pre-existing Condition

Cardiac tamponadeis a hemodynamic emergency requiring prompt treatment in order to avoid a fatal outcome. It can complicate a number of medical conditions and it is important therefore that practitioners are aware of its presentation, diagnosis, and management. Cardiac tamponade occurs when the intrapericardial pressure exceeds the intracardiac pressure producing progressive reduction in diastolic ventricular filling and a consequent reduction in stroke volume and cardiac output. The normal pericardial space contains 15–50 ml of fluid, but depending on the etiology of the...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-00418-6_492
  • Chapter length: 4 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   1,799.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-642-00418-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   2,499.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Pericardiotomy. Figure 1
Pericardiotomy. Figure 2


  1. Brewster SA, Thirlby RC, Snyder WH 3rd (1988) Subxiphoid pericardial window and penetrating cardiac trauma. Arch Surg 123(8):937–941

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Kurimoto Y, Hase M, Nara S, Yama N, Kawaharada N, Morishita K et al (2006) Blind subxiphoid pericardiotomy for cardiac tamponade because of acute hemopericardium. J Trauma 61(3):582–585

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Alcan KE, Zabetakis PM, Marino ND, Franzone AJ, Michelis MF, Bruno MS (1982) Management of acute cardiac tamponade by subxiphoid pericardiotomy. JAMA 247(8):1143–1148

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Mayor-Davies JA, Britz RS (1990) Subxiphoid pericardial windows–helpful in selected cases. J Trauma 30(11):1399–1401

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Moores DW, Allen KB, Faber LP, Dziuban SW, Gillman DJ, Warren WH et al (1995) Subxiphoid pericardial drainage for pericardial tamponade. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 109(3):546–551, discussion 51–52

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

About this entry

Cite this entry

Izenberg, R.A., Dicker, R. (2012). Pericardiotomy. In: Vincent, JL., Hall, J.B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Intensive Care Medicine. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-642-00417-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-642-00418-6

  • eBook Packages: MedicineReference Module Medicine