What is CARDIAC TAMPONADE? What does CARDIAC TAMPONADE mean? CARDIAC TAMPONADE meaning - CARDIAC TAMPONADE definition - CARDIAC TAMPONADE explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Cardiac tamponade, also known as pericardial tamponade, is when fluid in the pericardium (the sac around the heart) builds up and results in compression of the heart. Onset may be rapid or more gradual. Symptoms typically include those of cardiogenic shock including shortness of breath, weakness, lightheadedness, and cough. Other symptoms may relate to the underlying cause.
Common causes include cancer, kidney failure, chest trauma, and pericarditis. Other causes include connective tissue diseases, hypothyroidism, aortic rupture, and following cardiac surgery. In Africa, tuberculosis is a relatively common cause.
Diagnosis may be suspected based on low blood pressure, jugular venous distension, pericardial rub, or quiet heart sounds. The diagnosis may be further supported by specific electrocardiogram (ECG) changes, chest X-ray, or an ultrasound of the heart. If fluid increases slowly the pericardial sac can expand to contain more than 2 liters; however, if the increase is rapid as little as 200 mL can result in tamponade.
When tamponade results in symptoms, drainage is necessary. This can be done by pericardiocentesis, surgery to create a pericardial window, or a pericardiectomy. Drainage may also be necessary to rule out infection or cancer. Other treatments may include the use of dobutamine or in those with low blood volume, intravenous fluids. Those with few symptoms and no worrisome features can often be closely followed. The frequency of tamponade is unclear. One estimate from the United States places it at 2 per 10,000 per year.
Initial treatment given will usually be supportive in nature, for example administration of oxygen, and monitoring. There is little care that can be provided pre-hospital other than general treatment for shock. Some teams have performed an emergency thoracotomy to release clotting in the pericardium caused by a penetrating chest injury.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment is the key to survival with tamponade. Some pre-hospital providers will have facilities to provide pericardiocentesis, which can be life-saving. If the patient has already suffered a cardiac arrest, pericardiocentesis alone cannot ensure survival, and so rapid evacuation to a hospital is usually the more appropriate course of action.
Initial management in hospital is by pericardiocentesis. This involves the insertion of a needle through the skin and into the pericardium and aspirating fluid under ultrasound guidance preferably. This can be done laterally through the intercostal spaces, usually the fifth, or as a subxiphoid approach. A left parasternal approach begins 3 to 5 cm left of the sternum to avoid the left internal mammary artery, in the 5th intercostal space. Often, a cannula is left in place during resuscitation following initial drainage so that the procedure can be performed again if the need arises. If facilities are available, an emergency pericardial window may be performed instead, during which the pericardium is cut open to allow fluid to drain. Following stabilization of the patient, surgery is provided to seal the source of the bleed and mend the pericardium.
In heart surgery patients post op, the nurses monitor the amount of chest tube drainage. If the drainage volume drops off, and the blood pressure goes down, this can suggest tamponade due to chest tube clogging. In that case, the patient is taken back to the operating room for an emergency reoperation.
If aggressive treatment is offered immediately and no complications arise (shock, AMI or arrhythmia, heart failure, aneurysm, carditis, embolism, or rupture), or they are dealt with quickly and fully contained, then adequate survival is still a distinct possibility.