Cardiac tamponade secondary to chest tube placement

Eur J Emerg Med. 2001 Sep;8(3):237-9. doi: 10.1097/00063110-200109000-00014.


A 69-year-old woman was hospitalized because of a left-sided pneumothorax due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. During chest tube placement she developed hypotension and a decrease in peripheral oxygen saturation. A diagnosis of heart tamponade was made and the patient was treated successfully with pericardiocentesis and placement of a pericardial drain. Cardiac tamponade following chest tube placement is a rare and serious complication. When the clinical condition deteriorates following chest tube insertion, cardiac tamponade should be considered.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Tamponade / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiac Tamponade / etiology*
  • Chest Tubes / adverse effects*
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pneumothorax / etiology
  • Pneumothorax / therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Treatment Outcome