Diagnosis, management, and clinical outcome of cardiac tamponade complicating percutaneous coronary intervention

Am J Cardiol. 2002 Dec 1;90(11):1183-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(02)02831-x.


Cardiac tamponade is an uncommon but life-threatening complication of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The purpose of the present study was to characterize the incidence, management, and clinical outcome associated with this complication. We analyzed a prospective database of 25,697 PCIs performed at William Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak, Michigan) between October 1993 and December 2000. Cardiac tamponade was observed in 31 of 25,697 PCI procedures (0.12%). Cardiac tamponade was diagnosed in the catheterization laboratory in 17 of 31 patients (55%), and 14 patients (45%) had a delayed presentation (mean time from PCI 4.4 hours). Cardiac tamponade was twice as frequent after use of atheroablative devices compared with percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and stenting (0.26% vs 0.11%, p <0.05). All patients with immediate cardiac tamponade had coronary artery perforation. In 11 of 14 patients with delayed tamponade (79%), no actual site of perforation could be identified. A moderate or large pericardial effusion was observed in 20 patients, and 9 had small effusions without typical echocardiographic features of tamponade. Pericardiocentesis was performed in 30 patients; 19 patients (61%) were treated successfully with aspiration alone, but 12 patients (39%) required further emergency surgical intervention. In-hospital complications included death (42%), emergency surgery (39%), myocardial infarction (29%), and transfusion (65%). Cardiac tamponade is an uncommon but important complication of PCI and is associated with high mortality and morbidity. Most cases are recognized in the catheterization laboratory, but delayed cardiac tamponade may occur and must be considered as a cause of late hypotension after PCI.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / adverse effects*
  • Atherectomy, Coronary / adverse effects*
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Cardiac Tamponade / diagnosis
  • Cardiac Tamponade / epidemiology
  • Cardiac Tamponade / etiology*
  • Cardiac Tamponade / therapy
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy*
  • Echocardiography
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Retrospective Studies