[Value of right ventricular and atrial collapse in identifying cardiac tamponade]

H Shono, J Yoshikawa, K Yoshida, H Kato, F Okumachi, K Shiratori, K Koizumi, S Takao, T Asaka, T Akasaka
Journal of Cardiography 1986, 16 (3): 627-35
Collapse of the right ventricle and right and left atria is observed in cardiac tamponade. To assess the diagnostic value of each collapse component in identifying cardiac tamponade, two-dimensional and M-mode echocardiograms were recorded simultaneously with the measurement of intrapericardial pressure in five patients as they underwent pericardiocentesis. Before pericardiocentesis, each patient had evidence of right ventricular and right atrial collapse. In addition, left atrial collapse was observed in four patients. During pericardiocentesis, left atrial collapse initially resolved accompanied by a drop in pressure in the pericardial sac. Continuous drainage of pericardial effusion resulted in significant symptomatic improvement and the cessation of paradoxical pulse at the point of resolution of right ventricular collapse. However, right atrial collapse persisted after resolution of right ventricular collapse, but it was absent when pericardiocentesis was completed. Injection of saline solution with heparin into the pericardial sac for cleansing initially caused right atrial collapse, while right ventricular collapse developed with the appearance of cardiac tamponade. In one patient, the simultaneous recording of right ventricular and intrapericardial pressures and two-dimensional echocardiograms demonstrated that right ventricular collapse occurred early in diastole, when intrapericardial pressure exceeded right ventricular pressure. In conclusion, right ventricular collapse is the most reliable sign of cardiac tamponade. Right atrial collapse occurs in the early stage of cardiac tamponade. Left atrial collapse appears very late in the course of hemodynamic deterioration due to cardiac tamponade.

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