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Case report
Pneumopericardium and pleural effusion: a rare complication of paediatric pericardiocentesis


Pneumopericardium is a rare complication of pericardiocentesis (PC), occurring as a result of either a direct pleuropericardial communication or a leaky drainage system. Pneumopericardium is often self-limiting; however, physicians should be aware of this complication as it may progress to tension pneumopericardium, which requires immediate recognition and management. PC has been associated with pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum or subcutaneous emphysema, but the association with pleural effusion has been less reported. The authors present the case of a 14-year-old healthy boy who developed post-PC pneumopericardium and pleural effusion, a rare association reported in the literature. The diagnosis of this potential life-threatening event was made using readily available complementary diagnostic methods, such as transthoracic echocardiography and chest X-ray.

  • air leaks
  • pericardial disease
  • paediatric intensive care

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