What is included in the inpatient care 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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After pericardiocentesis, leave the intrapericardial catheter in place after securing it to the skin using sterile procedure and attaching it to a closed drainage system via a 3-way stopcock. Periodically check for reaccumulation of fluid, and drain as needed.

The catheter can be left in place for 1-2 days and can be used for pericardiocentesis. Serial fluid cell counts can be useful for helping to discover an impending bacterial catheter infection, which could be catastrophic. If the white blood cell (WBC) count rises significantly, the pericardial catheter must be removed immediately.

A Swan-Ganz catheter can be left in place for continuous monitoring of hemodynamics and to assess the effect of reaccumulation of pericardial fluid. A repeat echocardiogram and a repeat chest radiograph should be performed within 24 hours.

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