Pericardial Access Through the Right Atrium in a Porcine Model
Texas Heart Institute Journal
As procedures such as epicardial ventricular ablation and left atrial appendage occlusion become more commonplace, the need grows for safer techniques to access the physiologic pericardial space. Because this space contains minimal fluid for lubrication, prevailing methods of pericardial access pose considerable periprocedural risk to cardiac structures. Therefore, we devised a novel method of pericardial access in which carbon dioxide (CO2) is insufflated through a right atrial puncture under
... ial puncture under fluoroscopic guidance, enabling clear visualization of the cardiac silhouette separating from the chest wall. We performed the procedure in 8 Landrace pigs, after which transthoracic percutaneous pericardial access was obtained by conventional means. All of the animals remained hemodynamically stable during the procedure, and none showed evidence of epicardial or coronary injury. The protective layer of CO2 in the pericardial space anterior to the heart facilitated percutaneous access in our porcine model, and the absence of complications supports the potential safety of this method.