What is the role of lab studies in the evaluation of cardiac tamponade?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: Chakri Yarlagadda, MD, FACC, FSCAI, FASNC, CCDS; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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The following studies aid in the assessment of patients with cardiac tamponade:

  • Creatine kinase and isoenzymes - levels are elevated in patients with myocardial infarction and cardiac trauma

  • Renal profile and complete blood count (CBC) with differential - These tests are useful in the diagnosis of uremia and certain infectious diseases associated with pericarditis

  • Coagulation panel - The prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time are useful for determining bleeding risk during interventions, such as pericardial drainage and/or the placement of pericardial windows

  • Antinuclear antibody assay, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and rheumatoid factor - Although nonspecific, results from these tests may give clues to a connective tissue disease predisposing to the development of pericardial effusion.

  • HIV testing - Approximately 24% of all pericardial effusions are reported to be associated with HIV infection

  • Purified protein derivative testing - This is used to diagnose tuberculosis, which is an important and not uncommon cause of pericardial effusion and tamponade.

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