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Cardiac Tamponade

Cardiac Tamponade:  Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatments | National Heart Centre Singapore

Cardiac Tamponade - What it is

​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 - Symptoms

​One symptom of cardiac tamponade is a sharp, stabbing chest pain that radiates to the neck, shoulder, back or abdomen. Other symptoms include difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, fainting and swelling of the abdomen.

Cardiac Tamponade - How to prevent?

Cardiac Tamponade - Causes and Risk Factors

​Cardiac tamponade can occur through chest trauma or pericarditis. It can also occur due to heart disease and heart attack.

Cardiac Tamponade - Diagnosis

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 - Treatments

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.

Cardiac Tamponade - Preparing for surgery

Cardiac Tamponade - Post-surgery care

Cardiac Tamponade - Other Information

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