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Pericardiocentesis also called a pericardial tap is an invasive procedure in which a needle is used to remove fluid from the pericardial sac, the tissue surrounding the heart. The fluid that is removed is tested for signs of heart infections like pericarditis, heart failure, heart attack and cancer.

Pericardiocentesis is used to

  • Determine cause of fluid around the heart.
  • Relieve symptoms, such as shortness of breath, caused by having fluid around the heart.