Novel pericardial access device: Design features and in vitro evaluation

P. M. Pollak, S. Mahapatra, J. K. Kanwal, G. T. Gillies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We have designed, built and tested a novel needle for percutaneously accessing the pericardial space. The problem with accessing pericardial space is that the pericardium is against the heart. Our novel device incorporates a single spiral tine at the distal tip of a 10-gauge needle, which engages the parietal pericardium tangentially to the surface of the heart. One can then pull the pericardium away, thus minimizing the risk of ventricular perforation associated with oblique axial approaches. Using linear low-density polyethylene film as a surrogate pericardium, we have demonstrated reliable pericardial engagement with successful first-time engagement rates of up to 72% (n=25 attempts) at approach angles ranging from 0° (normal incidence) to 30°. The associated torques were approximately 1 N mm. The performance limits of the model and the implications for clinical use of such a device are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Engineering and Technology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Access trocar
  • Epicardial therapy
  • Pericardial access
  • Subxiphoid approach
  • Thoracic probe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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