Usefulness of right ventricular diastolic collapse in diagnosing cardiac tamponade and comparison to pulsus paradoxus

S Singh, L S Wann, H S Klopfenstein, A Hartz, H L Brooks
American Journal of Cardiology 1986 March 1, 57 (8): 652-6
To compare the sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of right ventricular (RV) diastolic collapse and pulsus paradoxus as signs of cardiac tamponade, 21 consecutive patients with pericardial effusion and suspected cardiac tamponade underwent prospective hemodynamic and echocardiographic evaluation. Simultaneous hemodynamic and echocardiographic data were obtained in all patients before and after pericardiocentesis. Cardiac tamponade was considered present when there was diastolic equilibration of the intrapericardial, right atrial and pulmonary capillary wedge pressures and elevation of these pressures to more than 10 mm Hg. RV diastolic collapse was 93% sensitive and 100% specific in diagnosing cardiac tamponade, whereas pulsus paradoxus was only 79% sensitive and 40% specific. The positive and negative predictive values of RV diastolic collapse (100% and 83%) were considerably better than pulsus paradoxus (81% and 40%) and demonstrate that RV diastolic collapse is more sensitive, specific and predictive of cardiac tamponade than is pulsus paradoxus. Serial simultaneous hemodynamic and echocardiographic observations at multiple points during pericardiocentesis in a smaller subgroup (5 patients) also suggest that the hemodynamic effects of RV diastolic collapse in cardiac tamponade are mediated by an increase in intrapericardial pressure.


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