Percutaneous balloon pericardiostomy for treatment of cardiac tamponade

E. Di Segni*, J. Lavee, E. Kaplinsky, Z. Vered

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Percutaneous balloon pericardiostomy was performed in eight severely ill patients with malignancy (seven patients) and chronic renal failure (one patient). To investigate the feasibility of balloon pericardiostomy as a bedside procedure, echocardiography was used in addition to fluoroscopy in monitoring the procedure. The pericardium was entered from the standard subxiphoid site. An 18 to 25 mm, 3 or 4 cm long, balloon catheter, introduced over a stiff guidewire was inflated across the parietal pericardium. Creation of a pericardial opening was obtained in each of the eight patients. Bleeding from the needle entry site was the only complication observed in one patient. The balloon catheter could be localized by echocardiography only in 218 cases. Two patients died, 3 and 14 days after the procedure, from the primary disease; six patients were still alive at follow-up ranging from 32 to 342 days. No recurrence of cardiac tamponade was observed in any patient.Percutaneous balloon pericardiostomy is efficacious and safe in relieving pericardial tamponade and preventing its recurrence in severely ill patients. Fluoroscopy is needed to monitor the procedure. The value of echocardiography is limited for follow-up controls of pericardial effusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-187
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • Balloon pericardiostomy
  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Malignancy
  • Pericardial effusion


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