Intracardiac injection

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Intracardiac injections are injections that are given directly into the heart muscles or ventricles. They are used in emergencies.[1]


Intracardiac injections of drugs were generally used only to provide emergency drugs to a patient if other approaches would be ineffective; for example if drugs could not be administered intravenously due to individual circumstances. The procedure is performed by inserting a long spinal needle into the ventricular chamber. The needle is inserted in the fourth intercostal space between the ribs.[2] Today it is considered obsolete, and other routes to give drugs are preferred (i.e. via an endotracheal tube or intraosseous (direct in the bone))


The two primary complications are injury to the coronary artery and hemorrhage within the pericardium, or tamponade (constriction of the cardiac blood vessels). The probability of complications can be reduced by using a narrow gauge of needle.[2]

Society and culture[edit]

In the movie Pulp Fiction, an intracardiac injection of adrenalin is used to treat a heroin overdose (not the normal medical treatment for this condition).[3]


  1. ^ Eldor, J (September 1993). "Immediate intracardiac adrenaline injection in asystole". Lancet. 342 (8873): 738–739. PMID 8103835. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(93)91729-6. 
  2. ^ a b Robert Simon; Barry Brenner (2002). Emergency procedures and techniques. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7817-2699-3. 
  3. ^ Bobzeda (2012-08-03), Pulp Fiction (HD) - Overdose Needle Scene, retrieved 2017-04-02