Cardiac Tamponade

-By Tram Pham-

What is cardiac tamponade?

  • Cardiac Tamponade is also call Pericardial Effusion or Pericardial Tamponade.
  • Cardiac Tamponade is a pressure on the heart that occur when blood or the fluid build up in the space between heart muscle , and the outer covering sac of the heart (pericardium)
  • This is serious medical condition. It extract your heart and make your heart not function appropriately. It prevent the heart from expand. There will be less of blood come into the heart because the size of it have been decrease. Soon, your heart could not pump enough blood for other parts of your body and it could lead to organ failure, shock, and even death.
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What is the cause of Cardiac Tamponade?

The causes of pericardial penetration or fluid accumulation might include:

  • Heart surgery
  • Physical trauma to the heart (Gunshot or stab wounds)
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Breast or lung cancer
  • Collagen vascular disease
  • Leukemia
  • Hypothyroidism

Almost 14% of the cases of cardiac tamponade are unknown.

Incidence of occurrence:

  • Cardiac Tamponade is find around the world, every racial and ethnic groups are easy to have this heart condition.
  • Cardiac Tamponade is rare. There is only 2 case out of 10,000 population in the United States of America.
  • Fewer than 200,000US cases per year
  • Both children and adults are effected
  • In children, boys have more chance to have it than girl. The ratio between male to female is 7:3
  • In adult, it appear to be slightly more common in men than women. The ratio between men and women is 1.5 : 1
  • Cardiac Tamponade related to trauma or HIV is more common in young adult.


*Symptoms include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath, faster breath
  • Fainting
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Pale, gray, or blue skin

*Other symptoms that might occur:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Weak or absent pulse


Most of the cases of cardiac tamponade are not preventable. Knowing your personal risk factors may help you get early treatment. In some case, early detection and treament of the condition that cause cardiac tamponade may help in prevention.

Risk factor:

  • End- stage renal diseases
  • Undergoing invasive procedures on the heart and lung
  • Exposure to inflection
  • Heart attack
  • Individual with collagen vascular disorder
  • Individual with certain tumors


  • The definitive treatment for Cardiac Tamponade is to removed the blood or fluid out off the pericardium , thereby relieving the pressure on the heart and allowing it to pump normally.
  • Usually, a needle or small tube will use to drain the fluid or blood out of the covering sac of the heart.
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