OverviewPericardial fluid that is obtained from the heart is stained with a violet stain known as gram stain. The sample is then examined under the microscope for the presence of bacteria. The color, number, and morphologic appearance of the cells help make it possible to identify the organism. The test is performed when an infection of the heart is suspected, or when a pericardial effusion is present
Update Date 5/31/2012
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.