Pericardiocentesis is a procedure to remove excess fluid near the heart. In certain cases of lung cancer, fluid can accumulate in the upper chest cavity near the heart. The fluid can then penetrate the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart). This is known as pericardial effusion. Increased pressure on the heart resulting from pericardial effusion causes the heart to work less effectively.
What does it involve?
Pericardiocentesis is performed under local anesthetic. A needle is inserted through the chest wall and into the pericardium. A flexible tube called a catheter is then inserted through the needle to drain the fluid from the pericardium. The catheter may be removed after the procedure, or it may be left in for several hours or overnight for additional drainage.
Side effects of pericardiocentesis can include infection, air in the chest cavity, bleeding, puncture of the heart or liver, heart failure, and, rarely, death.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Palliative Procedures for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer — American Cancer Society
Pericardiocentesis — Johns Hopkins Medicine