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Echocardiographic Contrast Studies During Pericardiocentesis

P. A. N. CHANDRARATNA, M.D., M.R.C.P., F.A.C.P.; J. FIRST, M.D.; E. LANGEVIN, D.O.; and R. O'DELL, D.O.
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The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
P.O. Box 26901 Oklahoma City, OK 73190


Ann Intern Med. 1977;87(2):199-200. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-87-2-199
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The role of echocardiography in the diagnosis of pericardial effusion has been firmly established (1-3). Electrocardiographic monitoring is routinely used during pericardiocentesis (4). The occurrence of ventricular extrasystoles and the appearance of ST segment elevation indicate contact of the exploring needle with the myocardium. Occasionally, electrocardiographic changes may not be evident when the exploring needle penetrates the myocardium. In such situations the differentiation between hemopericardium and aspiration of blood from a cardiac chamber is difficult. Our data from three patients indicate that echocardiographic contrast studies during pericardiocentesis are helpful in making such a differentiation.

Echocardiography was done with the patient

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