Pericardial Effusion

Pericardial Effusion

 Pathology:      Fluid within the pericardium whichrestricts ventricular filling and cardiac output


Aetiology:                     Transudate: Congestive cardiac failure, myxoedema, nephroticsyndrome

                                          Exudate: TB,empyema

Haemorrhagic: Trauma, aneurysmalrupture

Malignant: Fluid frommetastasis


Symptoms:                 Chest pain,shortness of breath, fatigue may be asymptomatic


Signs:                              Tachycardia,pulsus paradoxus


Investigations:          ECG: low QRS voltage, electricalalternans (beat-to-beat shift in QRS/P waves)

CXR:enlarged cardiac silhouette

ECHO:specific and sensitive method of detecting a pericardial effusion

Treatment:              Monitor, pericardiocentesis


Complications:           Pericardial effusions may progress tocardiac tamponade


Prognosis:                   Depends onunderlying cause. Large effusion indicate more serious disease.

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