Considers any original case report or case series that expands the field of general medical knowledge, and original research relating to case reports.
Submit a manuscript

Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Cases Journal and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Case Report

Cardiac tamponade and successful pericardiocentesis in an extremely low birth weight neonate with percutaneously inserted central venous line: a case report

Alfredo Pizzuti1, Emilia Parodi2*, Paola Abbondi2 and Mario Frigerio2

Author Affiliations

1 Cardiology Unit, Ordine Mauriziano Hospital, (Largo Turati n 62), Turin, (10128), Italy

2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Ordine Mauriziano Hospital, (Largo Turati n 62), Turin, (10128), Italy

For all author emails, please log on.

Cases Journal 2010, 3:15  doi:10.1186/1757-1626-3-15

Published: 11 January 2010



Pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade are rare but life-threatening complications of percutaneosuly inserted central line (PICL) use in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) neonates, with an incidence reported between 0.07% and 2% of PICLs placement. Timely diagnosis and pericardiocentesis has been proven to be life-saving.

Case presentation

The patient was a 620 g birth weight neonate who presented with sudden cardiac instability 18 days after the insertion of a PICL and in spite of a presumed satisfactory position of the catheter tip.

The transthoracic echocardiography demonstrated severe pericardial effusion with evidence of cardiac tamponade.

Successful urgent subxiphoid pericardiocentesis was performed; totally 2 ml of whitish fluid was collected, which resulted consistent to the composition of the hyperosmolar TPN solution infused.


Cardiac tamponade should be considered in any newborn with a peripherally inserted central catheter who presents with cardiorespiratory instability (bradycardia, cyanosis and metabolic acidosis), even when lines are believed to be placed correctly.