Use of an autologous blood recovery system during emergency pericardiocentesis in the electrophysiology laboratory

K. L. Venkatachalam, Lisa J. Fanning, Elaine A. Willis, Douglas S. Beinborn, David J. Bradley, Yong Mei Cha, Win Kuang Shen, Samuel J. Asirvatham, Lawrence J. Sinak, Douglas L. Packer, Thomas M. Munger, Paula J. Santrach, Paul A. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Autotransfusion during Pericardiocentesis. Introduction: Emergency pericardiocentesis during electrophysiology procedures is often associated with significant aspiration of pericardial blood, requiring transfusion. We sought to assess the feasibility of urgent use of an autologous blood recovery system in the electrophysiology laboratory to autotransfuse blood aspirated from the pericardium. Methods and Results: We retrospectively analyzed Mayo Clinic electrophysiology records for patients who had ablation procedure-related pericardial effusions requiring emergency pericardial drainage during an 8-month period. An autologous blood recovery system was used during pericardiocentesis to separate and clean packed red blood cells from the pericardial aspirate. These cells were returned acutely to the patient intravenously. The procedural safety, aspirated and autotransfused volumes, and efficacy of this approach were evaluated. During the study period, nine patients underwent pericardial drainage with autotransfusion using a cell-salvage instrument during electrophysiology procedures. The mean aspirated volume was 1,078 mL, with a mean autotransfused volume of 390 mL. For four patients, all with aspirated volumes of 1,100 mL or less, autotransfusion alone was sufficient to maintain hemodynamic stability and avoid allogeneic transfusion. One patient required surgical intervention because of ongoing pericardial bleeding. The ablation procedure was completed after aspiration in two patients. No procedural complications related to the use of the cell-salvage system occurred. Conclusion: Autologous blood recovery during pericardiocentesis is safe, convenient, and feasible. With early use it may decrease or eliminate the need for allogeneic blood transfusion and, in selected cases, may permit completion of the ablation procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-283
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Ablation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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