How is a cardiac tamponade diagnosed in in trauma patients?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

In the emergency department, there may be difficulty using the classic textbook ultrasonographic findings of tamponade, as the trauma patient is often tachycardic and the examination abbreviated. A dilated inferior vena cava (IVC) without inspiratory collapse (plethora) is highly suggestive of tamponade.


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