Cardiac tamponade occurs when fluid builds up between the heart muscle and the surrounding tissue called the pericardium. This fluid compresses the heart. Because of this, enough blood cannot be pumped in and out of the heart.
This condition can be life-threatening. Cardiac tamponade can be treated, but it can return after treatment.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you have a significant change in blood pressure between breaths, this is one way your doctor will diagnose this condition.
Imaging tests to evaluate the heart and surrounding structures may include:
Cardiac tamponade. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/thoracic-trauma/cardiac-tamponade. Updated January 2017. Accessed November 30, 2017.
Explore pericarditis. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/peri. Updated September 26, 2012. Accessed November 30, 2017.
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