Swinging heart in acute pancreatitis

Am J Med Sci. 2013 Aug;346(2):160-1. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e3182805779.


Pleural effusions and ascites are not uncommon in acute pancreatitis; however, pericardial effusions complicated by cardiac tamponade are extremely rare and definite treatment has yet to be established. This case report illustrates the findings in a 57-year-old patient, who was diagnosed of an acute alcoholic pancreatitis. The clinical course was complicated by recurrent episodes of acute pancreatitis, and eventually, the patient developed acute circulatory failure that was caused by cardiac tamponade. The patient was successfully treated by an emergency pericardiocentesis; however, although the patient was treated with intrapericardial triamcinolone and octreotide, pericardial effusion reoccurred. Eventually, a pancreaticopericardial fistula was diagnosed by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography, and after successful stent placement in a disrupted pancreatic duct, the clinical recovery was uneventful. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first case of a successful endoscopic treatment of a pancreaticopericardial fistula complicated by cardiac tamponade in a patient with acute pancreatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Tamponade / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Ducts / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / complications*
  • Pericardial Effusion / complications
  • Pericardial Effusion / pathology*
  • Pericardial Effusion / surgery