Cardiac puncture with recovery

Please read the general principles of blood sampling page before attempting any blood sampling procedure.


Collection of blood from the heart is the most accessible route in the hamster. However, given the invasive nature of the procedure and that it requires general anaesthesia, sampling from the saphenous vein should always be considered first.

Where cardiac puncture with recovery is used it should always be carried out under general anaesthesia and using an aseptic technique. Blood is collected from the left side of the thorax and care should be taken to avoid damaging the lung and heart. A sample of 0.5 ml can be collected. Only one sample should be taken with recovery. A second sample may be taken under terminal anaesthesia.

Blind passage of the needle toward the heart has the potential to cause laceration to large blood vessels or laceration of the heart resulting in pulmonary haemorrhage, haemothorax or cardiac tamponade. Care should be taken to ensure that the needle is inserted only as far as it needs to go into the chest cavity. Pericardial effusion (accumulation of blood within the pericardium) may occur during or after blood sampling and approximately 1 in 500 animals die as a result of the procedure.


Number of samples Only one sample with recovery; a second sample can be taken under terminal anaesthesia
Sample volume 0.5 ml
Equipment An insulin syringe (0.5-2 ml) with an integral needle
Staff resource One person is required to take the blood sample
Adverse effects See above

Resources and references

Cardiac puncture (with recovery) sampling in other animals

This technique (WITH recovery) is only appropriate for use in the hamster. Cardiac puncture WITHOUT recovery (i.e a terminal technique under anaesthesia) is an appropriate technique for use in the mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig, rabbit and ferret

All blood sampling techniques in the hamster

Click here for information on saphenous vein blood sampling in the hamsterClick here for information on retro-orbital blood sampling techniques in the hamster Click here for information on cardiac puncture blood sampling in the hamster