Cardiac Tamponade: Big Heart with Clear Lungs

Author: V. Dimov, M.D.; R. Akhtar, M.D.
Reviewer: A. Aneja, M.D.

A 62-year-old African American male (AAM) is admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath (SOB) for three days.

Past medical history (PMH)

Congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension (HTN).

Physical examination

Thin man, visibly SOB.
BP 75/40 mmHg.
Heart: distant S1S2.
Chest: CTA (B).
Abdomen: Soft, NT, ND.
Extremities: no c/c/e.

The initial CXR 2 months ago (left). The current CXR shows a cardiac tamponade (right) (click to enlarge the images).

The CT of the chest shows a cardiac tamponade (click to enlarge the images).

Tamponade echo report (click to enlarge the image).


Cardiac tamponade is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the pericardial space, resulting in reduced ventricular filling and hemodynamic compromise. Cardiac tamponade is a medical emergency.


Cardiac Tamponade. eMedicine Specialties > Cardiology > Pericardial Disease, 2008.
Cardiac Tamponade in Oxford handbook of clinical medicine By Murray Longmore, Ian B. Wilkinson, Supraj R. Rajagopalan, 2004.

Published: 04/12/2005
Updated: 11/11/2009


  1. that was helpful
    thnx alot

  2. I saw a patient once with a hemopericardium and cardiac tamponade.
    She was taking coumadin for atrial fibrillation and presented with refractory hypotension.
    To see the image - follow the link:

  3. This case helped my understanding of cardiac tamponade and the symptoms to look for. Thanks.

  4. This case helped my understanding level...I would like to learn more about this..and dis was helpfull my clinical stuady..thanx o lot