Cardiac tamponade occurs when fluid builds up between the heart muscle and the surrounding tissue called the pericardium. This fluid compresses the heart. Because of this, enough blood cannot be pumped in and out of the heart.
This condition can be life-threatening. With proper treatment, the prognosis is good. Cardiac tamponade can return after treatment, though.
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Cardiac tamponade can be caused by a variety of factors and conditions, including:
- Pericarditis —an inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart, caused by bacterial or viral infections
- Bleeding into the pericardium, caused by injury
- Ruptured heart muscle
- Cancer in or near the heart
Last reviewedSeptember 2012by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.