Etiologic diagnosis of pericarditis with effusion, particularly the differentiation of the tuberculous from the nonspecific type, has become extremely important since the introduction of chemotherapeutic and antibiotic agents. Though uncomplicated primary tuberculous pericarditis is rare, the infection at the onset frequently involves only the pericardium, while other manifestations occur later during the course of the illness. Again, the onset of the disease may be acute and closely resemble the acute nonspecific type, and if the correct diagnosis is delayed the prognosis may be greatly affected. Laboratory studies involve expense of valuable time and may yet be inconclusive in some cases. In several such cases, a pericardial biopsy through an anterior thoracotomy has established a specific diagnosis.1-5 The purpose of this paper is to describe a simple method of pericardial biopsy with the Vim-Silverman needle.
The biopsy site is selected, after fluoroscopic examination of the chest, in the fifth