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Cardiac tamponade can be a life-threatening condition due to the high variability of clinical symptoms and the associated risk of rapid hemodynamic deterioration. Therefore, accurate diagnosis followed by immediate intervention is necessary. Common clinical features of cardiac tamponade are pulsus paradoxus, tachycardia, elevated jugular venous pressure and hypotension; however, although these can be indicative of cardiac tamponade they are non-specific. Instant confirmation of the clinical diagnosis of cardiac tamponade can be pursued with echocardiography which also enables a clear estimation of the current hemodynamic situation. Thus in contemporary clinical practice echocardiography plays a key role in the management of cardiac tamponade and must be consulted with regards to final treatment decisions. Common practice includes pericardial puncture under echocardiographic and/or X-ray guidance but only in cases of significantly sized pericardial effusions. Whenever there is a limited sized but hemodynamically significant effusion, inferior pericardiotomy should be the preferred treatment strategy. In cases of cardiac tamponade following chest trauma a full median sternotomy can be a suitable approach for surgical treatment.
Herzzentrum, Klinik für Herzchirurgie, Universität Leipzig, Strümpellstr. 39, 04289, Leipzig, Deutschland, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Der Chirurg; Zeitschrift fur alle Gebiete der operativen Medizen
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