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Pericardial assessment 

Pericardial assessment
Chapter:
Pericardial assessment
Author(s):

Shirjel Alam

, and Michael Gillies

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198749080.003.0010
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date: 06 December 2021

This chapter will outline the anatomy and physiology of the pericardial space and common causes of pericardial collections seen in critically ill patients. It will explain how to recognize a pericardial collection and answer these important questions—is it definitely pericardial? What is its size? What is its composition? Are there any associated abnormalities? And is it clinically significant? Simple collections will be distinguished from a haemopericardium and a pyocardium, which require surgical management. Finally, it will discuss the two-dimensional signs of cardiac tamponade that should guide the intensivist towards pericardial drainage in life-threatening cases. The advanced section of this chapter will introduce the spectral Doppler signs of pulsus paradoxus that indicate cardiac tamponade.

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