What is the role of transesophageal echocardiography in the workup of 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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Answer

Localized compressive masses, such as postoperative mediastinal hematoma, can cause tamponade without any of the classic 2-dimensional or Doppler manifestations. Transesophageal echocardiography maintains all of the advantages of transthoracic echocardiography and is useful in characterizing loculated effusions. However, this imaging study may be difficult to perform in patients with symptomatic effusions due to hemodynamic instability, with the required sedation being more difficult.


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