Cardiac tamponade causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]; Varun Kumar, M.B.B.S.


Cardiac tamponade is caused by the accumulation of a large or uncontrolled pericardial effusion. The effusion can occur rapidly (as in the case of trauma or myocardial rupture), or over a more gradual period of time (as in cancer). The fluid involved is often blood, but pus is also found in some circumstances. Common causes of increased pericardial effusion include hypothyroidism, trauma (either penetrating trauma involving the pericardium or blunt chest trauma), pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium), iatrogenic trauma (during an invasive procedure), and ventricular rupture.


Life Threatening Causes

Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated. Any cause of pericardial effusion capable of compromising the hemodynamic status of a patient is potentially life threatening.[1][2]

Common Causes

The most common cause of cardiac tamponade include the following[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Bacteria - pneumococcus, streptococcus, staphylococcus
Fungus - blastomyces, cryptococcus, histoplasma, pneumocystis carinii
Virus - coxsackie virus, echovirus, CMV

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Acute myocardial infarction, aortic dissection, dissecting aortic aneurysm, Dressler's syndrome, Kawasaki disease, myocardial rupture, pericarditis, ventricular aneurysm
Chemical / poisoning
Dermatologic Behcet syndrome
Drug Side Effect Anticoagulants, bleomycin, Ceritinib, Cyclophosphamide, dantrolene, daunorubicin, doxorubicin, hydralazine, isoniazid, minoxidil, penicillin, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, procainamide
Ear Nose Throat Temporal arteritis
Endocrine Hypothyroidism
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Acute pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, Whipple's disease
Hematologic Leukemia, lymphoma
Iatrogenic Cardiac catheterization, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cathether ablation for arrhythmias, coronary artery bypass grafting, dialysis, percutaneous coronary intervention, postpericardiotomy syndrome, radiation, TAVI, thoracic surgery, valvuloplasty
Infectious Disease Actinomycosis, adenovirus, amebiasis, aspergillus, blastomycosis, brucellosis, candida, coccidiomycosis, coxsackie B Virus, cytomegalovirus, Ebstein-Barr virus, echinococcus, echovirus, haemophilus influenza, hepatitis B, histoplasmosis, influenza, legionella, Lyme disease, meningococci, mumps, mycobacterium tuberculosis, mycoplasma pnuemonia, neisseria, nocardia, pneumococci, pneumonia, rheumatic fever, salmonella, staphylococcus, streptococci, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, varicella
Musculoskeletal / Ortho
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional / Metabolic
Obstetric/Gynecologic Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
Oncologic Breast cancer, fibroma, Kaposi's sarcoma, leukemia, lung cancer, lymphoma, melanoma, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, sarcoma
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary Bronchogenic cyst, lung cancer, pneumonia, sarcoidosis
Renal / Electrolyte Renal failure
Rheum / Immune / Allergy Acute rheumatic fever, amyloidosis, Behcet syndrome, collagen vascular disease, Dressler's syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Kawasaki disease, mixed connective tissue disease, polyarteritis nodosa, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, temporal arteritis, Wegener's granulomatosis
Sexual Neisseria gonorrhoeae, syphilis
Trauma Blunt or penetrating chest trauma
Urologic No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Idiopathic

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. Mattson Porth, C. (Ed.) (2005) (7th Ed.) Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States. Philadelphia : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ISBN 978-0781749886
  2. Mattson Porth, C. (Ed.) (2005) (7th Ed.) Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States. Philadelphia : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ISBN 978-0781749886
  3. Mittal A, Ray A, Talupula RM, Sood R (February 2018). "Sheehan's syndrome presenting as cardiac tamponade". BMJ Case Rep. 2018. doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-223129. PMC 5812377. PMID 29431100.
  4. Kurth BJ, Wagler V, Keith M (September 2016). "Cardiac tamponade as a manifestation of severe dermatomyositis". BMJ Case Rep. 2016. doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-216860. PMC 5051378. PMID 27664227.
  5. Fadel R, El-Menyar A, ElKafrawy S, Gad MG (2019). "Traumatic blunt cardiac injuries: An updated narrative review". Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 9 (3): 113–119. doi:10.4103/IJCIIS.IJCIIS_29_19. PMC 6792398 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 31620349.
  6. Almehmadi F, Chandy M, Connelly KA, Edwards J (2016). "Delayed Tamponade after Traumatic Wound with Left Ventricular Compression". Case Rep Cardiol. 2016: 2154748. doi:10.1155/2016/2154748. PMC 5019924. PMID 27651957.
  7. Zadra AR, Ripellino P, Barzaghi N (April 2015). "Cardiac tamponade as presenting symptom of tuberculosis". BMJ Case Rep. 2015. doi:10.1136/bcr-2014-208787. PMC 4422911. PMID 25926581.
  8. Chiu MH, Sharma NC (July 2018). "A case of hypertensive emergency, primary hypothyroidism and large pericardial effusion with early tamponade". J Cardiol Cases. 18 (1): 29–32. doi:10.1016/j.jccase.2018.03.005. PMC 6149587. PMID 30279905.
  9. Sinha A, Yeruva SL, Kumar R, Curry BH (2015). "Early Cardiac Tamponade in a Patient with Postsurgical Hypothyroidism". Case Rep Cardiol. 2015: 310350. doi:10.1155/2015/310350. PMC 4534597. PMID 26294982.

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