SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
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Computed tomography-guided pericardiocentesis: a systematic review concerning contemporary evidence and future perspectives.

BACKGROUND: Pericardial effusion (PE) can develop in several pathological scenarios, and is often initially evaluated by means of echocardiography. Computed tomography (CT) has been used as an aid in the management of patients presenting with PE, in selected cases. The role of CT-guided pericardiocentesis in contemporary practice, however, remains not fully ascertained. We aimed at presenting a systematic review concerning the state-of-the-art of this technique.

METHODS: A systematic review of published data on the use of CT for guiding pericardiocentesis was carried out (search performed on PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge and Scopus databases).

RESULTS: From title and abstract analysis, 14 articles were included that met the prespecified criteria. After full-text analysis, six articles were excluded. The eight articles under analysis included a total of 635 procedures performed in 571 patients. CT guidance was mostly used in a postoperative setting (364 procedures). Most procedures were done mainly for therapeutic purposes (528 procedures). Success rates ranged from 94% to 100%. Complications ranged from 0% to 7.8%.

CONCLUSION: CT-guided pericardiocentesis is a useful technique in the approach to PE, in several clinical scenarios. Its use can be especially relevant in the postoperative period, as well as in individuals with suboptimal image quality (as assessed by echocardiography, for the moment the first choice in the approach to most cases of PE).

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