Cardiac tamponade
Cardiac Tamponade

Cardiac Tamponade: Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment – Cardiac tamponade is a condition of impaired heart function in pumping blood due to strong pressure on the heart. Cardiac tamponade is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical treatment.

Cardiac tamponade can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from pale skin, limp body, chest pain, to heart palpitations. If you experience these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Because, cardiac tamponade that is not treated immediately can cause organ damage, shock, even death.

Cardiac Tamponade Causes and Risk Factors

Cardiac tamponade occurs due to a very strong pressure on the heart. This pressure is generated by blood or other body fluids that fill the pericardium chamber, which is the space between the heart muscle and the thin membrane that wraps around the heart.

When the fluid presses on the heart, the ventricles or chambers of the heart cannot expand fully. This condition causes less blood to enter the heart and less oxygen-containing blood to be pumped throughout the body.

The condition of lack of blood supply to the heart and the rest of the body can cause shock, heart failure, and failure of other organs.

The following are some conditions that can cause fluid accumulation in the pericardium:

  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Infection
  • Cancer that spreads to the pericardium membrane, such as breast cancer or lung cancer
  • Pericarditis or inflammation of the pericardium
  • Lupus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Radiotherapy to the chest
  • Rupture of an aortic aneurysm
  • Chest injuries, such as car accidents or other injuries
  • Gunshot or stab wounds.

If you have any of the above conditions, then you are at high risk of heart tamponade. Therefore, check your health to the doctor regularly to prevent it.

Cardiac Tamponade Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of cardiac tamponade include:

  • Hypotension or low blood pressure.
  • Chest pain that spreads to the neck, shoulders, back, or abdomen.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Anxious and restless.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Limp and pale.
  • A discomfort that arises when sitting or leaning forward.
  • Dizziness, fainting, or loss of consciousness.
  • Swelling of the legs or abdomen.

Cardiac Tamponade Diagnosis

The doctor will diagnose cardiac tamponade with the beginning of a full medical interview. In this medical interview, people will generally complain of difficulty breathing, chest pain, and heart palpitations. Next, the doctor will perform a complete physical examination.

On a physical examination, if you have cardiac tamponade, blood pressure will drop drastically, rapid breathing, heart rate more than 100 times per minute, when the examination with a stethoscope of heart sounds is not heard, blood vessels in the neck protrude, and palpable pulse is weak. Next, the doctor will ask to do some supporting examinations to support the diagnosis, such as:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to assess the rhythm and work of the heart.
  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to assess the function of the heart in pumping blood.
  • A CT scan or MRI of the chest to see abnormalities around the heart, such as an aneurysm or tumor.
  • Coronary angiography to assess the condition of the coronary blood vessels of the heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization.

Cardiac Tamponade Treatment

What is the treatment for cardiac tamponade?

Cardiac tamponade is often an emergency and requires prompt and appropriate treatment. Well, medical procedures to treat this condition usually depend on the cause.

In cases where this condition is caused by a buildup of fluid in the pericardium sac, the treatment will focus on moving the fluid that accumulates in the pericardium sac.

The procedure that doctors most often perform to treat this condition is pericardiocentesis. In the implementation, the medical team will use a needle and catheter to move the fluid.

However, in certain cases, the medical team may dry or remove fluid from the pericardium sac during a surgical procedure for heart disease.

It is helpful to find out the cause of cardiac tamponade. In fact, this method will help prevent the buildup of fluids back.

Not only that, the symptoms of this disease will subside after the fluid is removed. However, the end result of this condition depends largely on the cause of fluid buildup, the severity of the condition, the speed of the recovery process, and other health problems.

However, in addition, there are also some treatments that doctors may do to help overcome your health condition:

  • Rest by lifting your legs up to reduce the workload of the heart.
  • The use of inotropic drugs such as dobutamine to improve heart function.
  • Oxygen is given to reduce the workload of the heart.

Medication therapy in cardiac tamponade

In addition, there are several therapies that you can also undergo to reduce fluid in the heart:

  • Watch for heart conditions with an echocardiogram.
  • Use of drugs, to raise blood pressure that is too low.
  • Giving pain medication such as aspirin.
  • Use of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, steroids, or colchicine.
  • Blood transfusion in case of fluid buildup due to trauma or heart surgery.


Last Updated on February 26, 2022 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

Sharing is caring!