Which physical findings suggest pericardial effusion?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: William J Strimel, DO, FACP; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Examination findings in patients with pericardial effusion include the following:

  • Classic Beck triad of pericardial tamponade: Hypotension, muffled heart sounds, jugular venous distention

  • Pulsus paradoxus

  • Pericardial friction rub

  • Tachycardia

  • Hepatojugular reflux

  • Tachypnea

  • Decreased breath sounds

  • Ewart sign: Dullness to percussion beneath the angle of left scapula

  • Hepatosplenomegaly

  • Weakened peripheral pulses, edema, and cyanosis

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