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Cardiac Tamponade Symptoms

By HERWriter
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symptoms-of-cardiac-tamponade iStockphoto/Thinkstock

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), ʺcardiac tamponade is compression of the heart that occurs when blood or fluid builds up in the space between the myocardium (heart muscle) and the pericardium (outer covering sac of the heart).ʺ

Cardiac tamponade is also known as pericardial tamponade or tamponade. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) website stated ʺcardiac tamponade occurs in approximately 2 out of 10,000 people.ʺ

This condition is life-threatening and if you have any of the symptoms, contact your doctor or 911 immediately. This condition can result in death.

When there is a build-up of unnecessary fluid or blood around the outer covering sac of the heart (pericardium) this build-up does not allow the ventricles to expand completely. This “extra pressure” prevents the heart from operating at its normal function.

According to the National Library of Medicine and UMMC, symptoms of cardiac tamponade include:

• Chest pain --
o Radiating to the neck, shoulder, back, or abdomen
o Sharp, stabbing
o Worsened by deep breathing or coughing

• Heart palpitations
• Dizziness
• Fainting, light-headedness
• Pale, gray, or blue skin
• Anxiety
• Restlessness
• Trouble breathing
• Rapid breathing
• Weak or absent pulse
• Low blood pressure
• Swelling of the abdomen or other areas
• Discomfort, sometimes relieved by sitting upright or leaning forward
• Drowsiness

Cardiac tamponade may occur due to variety of reasons. According to the NLM and UMMC, the following may be cause to cardiac tamponade:

• Heart surgery
• Wounds to the heart
• Radiation therapy to the chest
• Recent invasive heart procedures
• Recent open heart surgery
• Heart tumors
• Placement of central lines
• Systemic lupus erythematosus
• Dissecting aortic aneurysm (thoracic)
• Kidney failure
• Pericarditis caused by bacterial or viral infections
• End-stage lung cancer
• Hypothyroidism
• Heart attack (acute MI)

Treatment for cardiac tamponade may include pericardiocentesis, pericardial window or surgical pericardiectomy. These procedures remove the excess fluid around the heart.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.