Which 12-lead ECG findings suggest 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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Answer

With a 12-lead electrocardiogram (see the image below), the following findings suggest, but are not diagnostic for, pericardial tamponade:

  • Sinus tachycardia

  • Low-voltage QRS complexes

  • Electrical alternans - Also observed during supraventricular and ventricular tachycardia

  • PR segment depression

    A 12-lead electrocardiogram showing sinus tachycar A 12-lead electrocardiogram showing sinus tachycardia with electrical alternans. Reproduced with permission from Chest, 1996; 109:825.

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