What is cardiac tamponade?

Cardiac tamponade is a life-threatening condition in which excess fluid around the heart compresses the heart, impairing the heart's ability to pump blood normally. Cardiac tamponade can occur after heart surgery, or result from infection, end-stage lung cancer, kidney failure, heart injury, or many other possible causes.

Symptoms of cardiac tamponade may include:
  • shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • anxiety or restlessness
  • chest pain that may get worse with coughing or deep breathing
  • sharp pain in the neck, shoulder, abdomen or back
  • heart palpitations
  • pale, grayish or bluish skin
  • stomach swelling
Call 911 or go straight to the emergency room if you experience symptoms of cardiac tamponade.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.