During a pericardial fluid culture, a small needle is inserted into the chest between the ribs into the pericardium (the thin sac that surrounds the heart) and a small amount of fluid is withdrawn. Samples of the fluid are placed in various culture media in the laboratory, and the media is observed for the growth of microorganisms. The test is performed when an infection of the heart is suspected or when a pericardial effusion is present.
Daniel Levy, MD, Infectious Disease, Maryland Family Care, Lutherville , MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.