How To Prepare continued...
You may not be able to eat or drink
for several hours before the test.
Some blood tests, including
those to check for
anemia and blood-clotting problems, may be done before
Because this is a test involving your heart, you may
have to stay overnight in the hospital to be monitored closely. If a drain is
inserted during the test, you may have to stay for several days.
Unless the procedure is being done in an emergency, you will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns
you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or
what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test,
fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A diagnostic pericardial drainage is
usually done in a cardiac procedure room. If the drainage is being done to
relieve pressure on the heart, it may be done in an emergency room or in your
hospital room. This procedure is normally performed by a
cardiovascular surgeon, or an
emergency medicine doctor.
test, your heart is monitored using an
electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG). You will have an
intravenous (IV) line for any medicine that may need
to be given during the test. You may be given a mild
sedative to help you relax.
nonemergency situations, you will lean back at an angle on the bed or table.
Your chest will be shaved (if necessary), cleaned with an antiseptic solution,
and covered with sterile drapes.
local anesthetic will be injected to numb the skin and
deeper tissues, and then a long thin needle will be carefully inserted just
below your breastbone. In some cases the needle is inserted between your ribs
on the left side, over your heart. The needle is then slowly advanced through
the pericardial sac into the pericardial space. Your doctor may use an
echocardiogram or EKG to help guide the needle. Or an
X-ray camera may be used to guide the procedure.