Cardiac tamponade is pressure on the heart that occurs when blood or fluid builds up in the space between the heart muscle and the outer covering sac of the heart. The condition is a medical emergency, the complications of which include pulmonary edema, shock, and death.
- In this condition, blood or fluid collects in the sac surrounding the heart.
- This prevents the heart ventricles from expanding fully. The excess pressure from the fluid prevents the heart from working properly
Symptoms of cardiac tamponade:
- Anxiety, restlessness
- Discomfort, sometimes relieved by sitting upright or leaning forward
- Fainting, light-headedness
- Pale, gray, or blue skin
- Rapid breathing
- Swelling of the legs or abdomen
- Sharp chest pain that is felt in the neck, shoulder, back, or abdomen
- Chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing or coughing
- Problems breathing
Causes of cardiac tamponade:
Other causes may include:
Risk factors of cardiac tamponade:
- Persons with certain brain injury or any brain or lung cancer has the higher risk of cardiac tamponade.
- Male are at higher risk of cardiac tamponade than females.
- Cardiac tamponade due to trauma or HIV is more common in young adults.
- And cardiac tamponade due to malignancy or renal failures is common in older persons.
Treatment of cardiac tamponade:
Treatment from dealing with emergency of cardiac tamponade include releasing the fluid which is accumulated in the space. The techniques of the fluid release may include:
- The fluid around the heart must be drained as quickly as possible. A procedure that uses a needle to remove fluid from the tissue that surrounds the heart will be done
- A surgical procedure to cut and remove part of the covering of the heart (pericardium) may also be done. This is known as surgical pericardiectomy or pericardial window
- Fluids are given to keep blood pressure normal until the fluid can be drained from around the heart. Medicines that increase blood pressure may also help keep the person alive until the fluid is drained
- Oxygen may be given to help reduce the workload on the heart by decreasing tissue demands for blood flow.
Diagnosis of cardiac tamponade:
Early diagnosis is the key to decrease the mortality rate by cardiac tamponade. Diagnosis may include:
Physical examination which may search for:
- Blood pressure that falls when breathing deeply
- Rapid breathing
- Heart rate over 100 (normal is 60 to 100 beats per minute)
- Heart sounds are only faintly heard through a stethoscope
- Neck veins that may be bulging (distended) but the blood pressure is low
- Weak or absent peripheral pulses
Other imaging techniques are carried out such as :
The may key for cardiac tamponade is correct diagnosis in correct time. It can reduce the mortality rate to many folds.