Cardiac tamponade: an educational review

Massimo Imazio, Gaetano Maria De Ferrari
European Heart Journal. Acute Cardiovascular Care 2020 July 6
Cardiac tamponade is a pericardial syndrome characterised by an impairment of the diastolic filling of the ventricles causing reduction of cardiac output, usually producing signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest, if untreated. The main causes of cardiac tamponade include percutaneous cardiac interventions, malignacies, infectious/inflammatory causes, mechanical complications of myocardial infarction and aortic dissection. The diagnosis of cardiac tamponade is a clinical diagnosis based on a suggestive history and clinical presentation with worsening dyspnoea, distended jugular veins, muffled heart sounds and pulsus paradoxus, and should be confirmed by echocardiography. Cardiac tamponade is a life-threatening syndrome that requires urgent treatment by pericardiocentesis. Pericardiocentesis is an interventional technique to drain pericardial fluid by a percutaneous route. The standard technique for pericardiocentesis is guided by echocardiography or fluoroscopy under local anaesthesia. Pericardiocentesis should be performed by experienced operators and carries a variable risk of complications, mainly cardiac chamber puncture, arrhythmias (ventricular arrhythmias suggest puncture of the ventricle), coronary artery puncture or haemothorax, pneumothorax, pneumopericardium and hepatic injury. The prognosis of cardiac tamponade is essentially related to aetiology. Cardiac tamponade in patients with cancer and metastatic involvement of the pericardium has a bad short-term prognosis because it is a sign of advanced cancer, on the contrary, patients with cardiac tamponade and a final diagnosis of idiopathic pericarditis generally have a good long-term prognosis.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.