- Cardiac tamponade
- A life-threatening situation in which there is such a large amount of fluid (usually blood) inside the pericardial sac around the heart that it interferes with the performance of the heart. The end result, if untreated, is low blood pressure, shock and death. The excess fluid in the pericardial sac acts to compress and constrict the heart. The word "tamponade" is direct from the French. The French verb "tamponner" means to plug up and, also, to smash into. Here the outpouring of fluid within the pericardial sac is, so to speak, smashing into the heart. Cardiac tamponade can be due to excessive pericardial fluid, a wound to the heart, or rupture of the heart. Also called pericardial tamponade.
* * *cardiac tamponade n mechanical compression of the heart by large amounts of fluid or blood within the pericardial space that limits the normal range of motion and function of the heart
* * *a dangerous situation in which there is a build-up of fluid around the heart within the pericardial sac. This causes compression of the heart, which is therefore unable to fill with blood adequately in order to pump effectively. Cardiac tamponade can result in heart failure, a drop in blood pressure, or cardiac arrest. It requires treatment by drainage of the fluid. The classical diagnostic features, known as Beck's triad, consist of dilated neck veins, a fall in blood pressure, and muffled heart sounds.
* * *acute compression of the heart caused by increased intrapericardial pressure due to the collection of blood or fluid in the pericardium from rupture of the heart, penetrating trauma, or progressive effusion.
Medical dictionary. 2011.