Cardiac tamponade in an orthotopic liver recipient with pulmonary hypertension

Seda B Akinci, Sean P Gaine, Wendy Post, William T Merrit, Henkie P Tan, Bradford Winters
Critical Care Medicine 2002, 30 (3): 699-701

OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical, hemodynamic, and echocardiographic findings of cardiac tamponade in a patient with portopulmonary hypertension shortly after orthotropic liver transplantation.

DESIGN: Case report.

SETTING: Surgical intensive care unit of a university teaching hospital.

PATIENT: One patient with portopulmonary hypertension deteriorated progressively after orthotropic liver transplantation and developed cardiogenic shock.

INTERVENTION: Serial transthoracic echocardiography showed increased right ventricular pressures and pericardial effusion without evidence of cardiac tamponade. Since right ventricular diastolic collapse may not be present in the setting of pulmonary hypertension and her clinical scenario was consistent with tamponade, pericardiocentesis was performed.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: There was dramatic improvement of the clinical, hemodynamic, and echocardiographic variables after pericardiocentesis

CONCLUSION: Pulmonary hypertension may decrease the predictive accuracy of echocardiographic clues for cardiac tamponade. Pericardiocentesis should be considered with clinical suspicion of cardiac tamponade without classic echocardiographic evidence in portopulmonary hypertension.

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