METHODS: This study was a single centre, retrospective casecontrol study. We recruited 42 patients diagnosed with cardiac tamponade of various aetiologies confirmed by transthoracic echocardiography and 100 controls between January 2011 and December 2015. The ECG criteria of cardiac tamponade we adopted was as follows: 1) Low QRS voltage in a) the limb leads alone, b) in the precordial leads alone or, c) in all leads, 2) PR segment depression, 3) Electrical alternans, and 4) Sinus tachycardia.
RESULTS: Malignancy was the most common causes of cardiac tamponade, the two groups were of similar proportion of gender and ethnicity. We calculated the sensitivity (SN), specificity (SP), positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of each ECG criteria. Among the ECG abnormalities, we noted the SN of 'low voltage in all chest leads' (69%), 'low voltage in all limb leads' (67%) and 'sinus tachycardia' (69%) were higher as compared to 'PR depression' (12%) and 'electrical alternan' (5%). On the other hand, 'low voltage in all chest leads' (98%), 'low voltage in all leads' (99%), 'PR depression' (100%) and 'electrical alternans' (100%) has highest SP.
CONCLUSION: Our study reaffirmed the findings of previous studies that electrocardiography cannot be used as a screening tool for diagnosing cardiac tamponade due to its low sensitivity. However, with clinical correlation, electrocardiography is a valuable adjuvant test to 'rule in' cardiac tamponade because of its high specificity.
BACKGROUND: Echocardiography is pivotal in the diagnosis of pericardial effusion and tamponade physiology. Ultrasound guidance for pericardiocentesis is currently considered the standard of care. Several approaches have been described recently, which differ mainly on the site of puncture (subxiphoid, apical, or parasternal). Although they share the use of low-frequency probes, there is absence of complete control of needle trajectory and real-time needle visualization. An in-plane and real-time technique has only been described anecdotally.
METHODS AND RESULTS: A retrospective analysis of 11 patients (63% men, mean age: 37.7±21.2 years) presenting with cardiac tamponade admitted to the tertiary-care emergency department and treated with parasternal medial-to-lateral in-plane pericardiocentesis was carried out. The underlying causes of cardiac tamponade were different among the population. All the pericardiocentesis were successfully performed in the emergency department, without complications, relieving the hemodynamic instability. The mean time taken to perform the eight-step procedure was 309±76.4 s, with no procedure-related complications.
CONCLUSION: The parasternal medial-to-lateral in-plane pericardiocentesis is a new technique theoretically free of complications and it enables real-time monitoring of needle trajectory. For the first time, a pericardiocentesis approach with a medial-to-lateral needle trajectory and real-time, in-plane, needle visualization was performed in a tamponade patient population.
CASE PRESENTATION: We report a case series that illustrates the diagnostic challenge and value of resuscitative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in the emergency department (ED) for the diagnosis of cardiac tamponade due to posterior loculated pericardial clot in post-surgical coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac tamponade due to loculated posterior pericardial clot post-CABG requires prompt diagnosis and appropriate management to avoid the potential for hemodynamic instability. Transesophageal echocardiography allows a rapid diagnosis, early appropriate referral and an opportunity to institute appropriate therapeutic measures.