Procedural Skills for Medical Students
1. Learners should be able to verbalize the
indications, contraindications, and complications
for pericardiocentesis.
2. Learners will perform a pericardiocentesis using
sterile technique on trainer.
Material to review prior to lab: Video of
1. To determine the etiology or presence of an effusion.
2. Emergently to relieve the symptoms of cardiac tamponade
1. Anti-coagulated patient or patient with uncontrolled coagulopathy (if able to delay
2. If patient is stable, emergent pericardiocentesis is contraindicated, and diagnostic
pericardiocentesis should be performed under guided ultrasonography.
Equipment: pericardiocentesis kit with needle, pericardiocentesis trainer
Instructional Procedure & Endpoints:
1. Learners will be oriented to trainer and equipment in ASTEC.
2. ASTEC staff will demonstrate proper sterile technique for pericardiocentesis.
3. Learners will verbalize landmarks for insertion of pericardiocentesis needle and
possible complications.
4. Learners will return demonstration of pericardiocentesis using sterile technique to
ASTEC staff.
Bystrzycki, A. (2010). Tamponade and pericardiocentesis. Retrieved from
James, D. (2011). Pericardiocentesis. In J.L. Pfenninger, & G.C. Fowler (Eds.), Procedures for
Primary Care, 3rd Ed (1464-1467). Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby.