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Cardiac Tamponade

Cardiac Tamponade is a topic covered in the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics.

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General Principles

Cardiac tamponade is a clinical diagnosis and is considered a medical emergency.


  • More likely to cause tamponade: procedural complications, infection, neoplasms, or idiopathic pericarditis
  • Others: postcardiotomy, autoimmune connective tissue disorders, uremia, trauma, radiation, myocardial infarction (subacute), drugs (hydralazine, procainamide, isoniazid, phenytoin, minoxidil), hypothyroidism


Fluid accumulation in the pericardial space increases the pericardial pressure. The pressure depends on the amount of fluid, the rate of accumulation, and the compliance of the pericardium. Tamponade develops when the pressure in the pericardial space is sufficiently high to interfere with adequate cardiac filling, resulting in a decrease in CO.

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Williams, Dominique, et al., editors. "Cardiac Tamponade." Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics, 35th ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2016. Washington Manual, www.unboundmedicine.com/washingtonmanual/view/Washington-Manual-of-Medical-Therapeutics/602395/all/Cardiac_Tamponade.
Cardiac Tamponade. In: Williams D, Ramgopal R, Gdowski M, et al, eds. Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics. 35th ed. Wolters Kluwer Health; 2016. https://www.unboundmedicine.com/washingtonmanual/view/Washington-Manual-of-Medical-Therapeutics/602395/all/Cardiac_Tamponade. Accessed May 25, 2019.
Cardiac Tamponade. (2016). In Williams, D., Ramgopal, R., Gdowski, M., Dretler, A., & Bhat, P. (Eds.), Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics. Available from https://www.unboundmedicine.com/washingtonmanual/view/Washington-Manual-of-Medical-Therapeutics/602395/all/Cardiac_Tamponade
Cardiac Tamponade [Internet]. In: Williams D, Ramgopal R, Gdowski M, Dretler A, Bhat P, editors. Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics. Wolters Kluwer Health; 2016. [cited 2019 May 25]. Available from: https://www.unboundmedicine.com/washingtonmanual/view/Washington-Manual-of-Medical-Therapeutics/602395/all/Cardiac_Tamponade.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Cardiac Tamponade ID - 602395 ED - Williams,Dominique, ED - Ramgopal,Rajeev, ED - Gdowski,Mark, ED - Dretler,Alexandra, ED - Bhat,Pavat, BT - Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/washingtonmanual/view/Washington-Manual-of-Medical-Therapeutics/602395/all/Cardiac_Tamponade PB - Wolters Kluwer Health ET - 35 DB - Washington Manual DP - Unbound Medicine ER -