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Excess fluid in this sac around the heart can negatively impact the heart’s function. Pericardiocentesis drains this fluid away and can help prevent the future build-up of fluid.

Your heart sits inside the pericardium, a liquid-filled pouch that holds your heart in place and cushions it from outside movement. Under normal circumstances, there’s plenty of room in the pericardium. That means your heart can expand and fill up with blood between heartbeats. Pericardial effusion is when the pericardium fills up with too much fluid, which means there’s less space for your heart to expand between heartbeats.

The preparation for this procedure depends on whether or not it’s an emergency. In cases where it’s not an emergency — such as when you have an effusion that’s slow-growing — we can schedule the procedure. In most cases, except in the direst emergencies, you’ll receive local anaesthesia.

On the day of the procedure, you'll need to fast (not eat) starting eight hours before the procedure (you can have clear liquids up to two hours before the procedure starts).

We will start an intravenous (IV) line. This is a way that we can give you medications or fluids directly through one of your veins.

Prepare your skin. We will remove any hair you have at the spot where the consultant will be performing this procedure will insert the needle.