Cardiac tamponade occurs when fluid builds up in the space between the outer sac covering the heart (pericardium) and the heart muscle (myocardium). The excess fluid puts pressure on the heart, causing the ventricles (large heart chambers) to be unable to expand fully. Less blood leaves the heart and blood pressure decreases.
Cardiac tamponade can occur through chest trauma or
pericarditis. It can also occur due to heart disease and
The doctor will perform an initial evaluation and order some diagnostic tests to evaluate the condition of the patient.
Examples for initial diagnostic tests are:
Cardiac tamponade is an emergency condition and the excess fluid has to be drained immediately. Pericardiocentesis is a procedure that uses a needle to remove fluid from the pericardial sac.
For patients who have failed or are unsuitable for pericardiocentesis, surgical drainage may be required for the relief of pericardial tamponade. During this surgical procedure, part of the pericardium may be cut and removed if required.
Doctors may also prescribe medication to stabilise blood pressure after the procedure.