Image-guided drainage of pericardial effusions in oncology patients

Alda Tam, Joe E. Ensor, Holly Snyder, Sanjay Gupta, Jean Bernard Durand, Michael J. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to report our clinical experience with image-guided drainage of pericardial effusions in oncology patients. IRB approval was obtained for this retrospective, HIPAA-compliant study. From November 2002 to January 2008, 40 patients underwent 43 image-guided drainages of pericardial effusions. The medical records were reviewed to analyze the technical aspects of the procedures, complications, and clinical outcomes. Thirty-three pericardial drains were placed and 10 pericardiocenteses were performed. The technical success rate was 100%. Thirty-three procedures were performed under computed tomographic (CT) guidance, five under ultrasound (US) guidance, and five using both CT and US guidance. There were no technical, procedure-related complications. Delayed postprocedure complications and arrhythmias occurred in 11 cases, for an overall complication rate of 25.6%. All complications occurred in patients who had undergone drain placement. Nine patients developed new or worsening arrhythmias and six of these patients required transfer to a higher level of care or the initiation of pharmacological management. In 58.6% of drain placements, including 4 of 11 patients who developed complications, the catheter could have been removed earlier. The median overall survival was 6.47 months (95% CI: 2.37, 12.7). In conclusion, image-guided pericardial drain placement is safe and feasible. Due to the frequency of delayed postprocedure arrhythmias, follow-up monitoring in a telemetry unit is recommended. Prompt catheter removal after drainage may reduce the incidence of delayed post-catheter-insertion arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1226
Number of pages10
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Neoplasm
  • Percutaneous drainage
  • Pericardial drain
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Pericardiocentesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Image-guided drainage of pericardial effusions in oncology patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this