A study of etiology, clinical characteristics, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic findings in patients with cardiac tamponade in a tertiary care hospital in Western Odisha

Nayan Kumar Patel, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Ayan Roy


Background: Cardiac tamponade is a life-threatening condition characterized by elevated intracardiac pressure, limitation of diastolic filling, and reduction of cardiac output and mostly requires urgent therapeutic intervention. Pericardial disease in on the rise attributed to improved survival of malignancy, growing no of cardiac interventions, chronic kidney diseases with dialysis, advent of modern chemo-radiotherapy. Still, there are paucity of data on etiology, clinical characteristics, electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiographic features in patients with cardiac tamponade from Odisha. Aim of this study was to emphasize the etiology, clinical characteristics, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic features in patients with cardiac tamponade.

Methods: A prospective observational study of 1-year duration was undertaken for patients with cardiac tamponade admitted at VIMSAR, a cardiology unit. Data on etiology, clinical characteristics, Echocardiography, ECG findings were documented. Echo guided pericardiocentesis followed culture, cytological and biochemical analysis done.

Results: Most common symptom was dyspnoea (88%), clinical signs were tachypnoea (96%), raised jugular venous pulse (64%), tachycardia (84%), pulsus paradoxus (60%). Classical beck’s triad was seen in 42% cases. X-ray showed cardiomegaly (94%) & pleural effusion (64%). Common ECG findings were sinus tachycardia (84%), low voltage QRS (68%) and electrical alternans (44%). Echocardiography showed 80% and 68% of patients had right atrium collapse and right ventricle collapse respectively. Both inferior vena cava plethora and transmitral flow variation were seen in 88% of cases. 96% had normal left ventricle function. 80% had large effusion. Pericardiocentesis yield was mostly in between 500-1000ml (mean 908 ml) with 72% with haemorrhagic aspirate.  All malignancy cases and 76% tubercular cases had haemorrhagic effusion.  Most common etiology was tubercular (50%), followed by malignancy (28%). 6% remained idiopathic. chronic kidney disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, post MI intervention, hypothyroid were some of the other causes.

Conclusions: Initial assessment with investigation and careful follow-up can yield a causal diagnosis in most cases. Early diagnosis and intervention by pericardiocentesis can be lifesaving.


Cardiac tamponade, Observational study, Pericardial effusion, Clinical characteristics

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