Diagnosis and management of cardiac tamponade in the era of echocardiography

T. S.M. Tsang, J. K. Oh, J. B. Seward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Cardiac tamponade is a life-threatening condition. Accurate diagnosis and prompt intervention are necessary. Classically, clinical features of tamponade include pulsus paradoxus, tachycardia, increased jugular venous pressure, and hypotension. With the advent of echocardiography, confirmation of an effusion and accurate assessment of its hemodynamic impact can be achieved, frequently in the absence of overt clinical manifestations. The decision regarding treatment and timing of intervention must take into account the clinical presentation and echocardiographic findings, along with careful weighing of risks and benefits to the individual patient. Echocardiographically guided pericardiocentesis is the best available therapy for initial management of cardiac tamponade. It is simple, safe, and effective for removing pericardial fluid and reversing hemodynamic instability, and the use of a pericardial catheter for extended drainage has been associated with significant reduction in recurrence of fluid accumulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-452
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cardiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Doppler
  • Echocardiography
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Pericardiocentesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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