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Cardiac Tamponade

What is Cardiac Tamponade?

Cardiac Tamponade is a life-threatening medical condition that is characterized by the compression of the heart due to excessive fluid in the pericardium (a double layered sac that surrounds the heart). The pressure exerted on the heart by the excessive fluid prevents the lower heart chambers (ventricles) from relaxing completely, causing less blood to fill the ventricles and get pumped out to the rest of the body. It is an emergency condition as without immediate medical intervention to drain the excess fluid out of the pericardium, it can cause the blood pressure to drop dangerously low and may eventually lead to shock and cardiac arrest.

Medical Specialties and Clinical Interests

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cardiac Tamponade?

Signs and symptoms of Cardiac Tamponade may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Have a blue or purple discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)
  • Have a subjective feeling of an abnormally irregular or rapid heart rate (heart palpitations)
  • Have breathing difficulties
  • Rapid breathing
  • Suffer from Hypotension
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Syncope
  • Weak pulse

What Causes Cardiac Tamponade?

Possible causes of Cardiac Tamponade are:

What Increases the Risk of Cardiac Tamponade?

The risk of Cardiac Tamponade increases when you/your:

What Complications Can Cardiac Tamponade Cause?

Cardiac Tamponade may result in the following complications:

How Can You Prevent Cardiac Tamponade?

No specific prevention guideline exists for Cardiac Tamponade at this moment.

What Treatments are Available for Cardiac Tamponade?

Treatments and management of Cardiac Tamponade may vary depending on the individual patient and the severity of the medical condition. Treatment options may include:

  • Oxygen Therapy
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Thoracotomy
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