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Malignant pericardial effusions: pathophysiology and clinical correlates.

Oncology Nursing Forum 1992 September
Cardiac tamponade resulting from malignant pericardial effusions is a life-threatening oncologic emergency. As many as 21% of all patients with cancer may be at risk for this complication. A malignant effusion often signifies progressing disease, creating stress and anxiety for patients and their families. By understanding the pathophysiology and pertinent risk factors, the nurse may identify an effusion before it progresses to cardiac tamponade. The goal of management is removal of fluid, restoration of hemodynamic functioning, and prevention of fluid reaccumulation. Emotional support and reassurance, as well as accurate information regarding the disease and treatment, also are critical in assisting patients to adapt to these changes in disease status.

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