Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Cardiac Tamponade

Cardiac tamponade is a compression of the heart due to a collection of fluid between the heart muscle and the tissue sac that surrounds the heart. The compression prevents the heart from pumping normally. It can be caused by infection, surgery, heart failure, cancer, radiation, and kidney problems. Symptoms include anxiety, problems breathing, chest pain, swollen stomach, pale skin, and heart palpitations. To test for tamponade X-rays, electrocardiogram (EKG), computed tomography (CT) scan, or angiogram can be done. Cardiac tamponade is an emergency and requires hospitalization. The patient is given fluid, and their blood pressure is stabilized. The patient can also receive oxygen, and sometimes surgery is necessary to repair or remove damaged tissue. If untreated cardiac tamponade can cause death, but if treated the prognosis is very good for a complete recovery.