Pulmonary hypertension decreases the predictive accuracy of echocardiographic clues for cardiac tamponade

G. D. Plotnick, D. C. Rubin, Z. Feliciano, A. A. Ziskind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of echocardiographic clues of pericardial tamponade have been described, but their accuracy in patients with pulmonary hypertension has not been well elucidated. Four echocardiographic clues of pericardial tamponade, namely, right atrial collapse (RAC), right ventricular diastolic collapse (RVDC), marked (>40%) respiratory variation in transmitral Doppler flow velocity ('flow velocity paradoxus [FVP]'), and inferior vena cava plethora (IVCP) were prospectively evaluated in 32 patients with large pericardial effusions. Of 12 patients with pulmonary hypertension, 6 had invasively determined evidence of tamponade and 6 did not; of 20 patients without pulmonary hypertension, 11 had tamponade and 9 did not. These echocardiographic clues were evaluated in a blinded fashion. Predictive accuracies for RAC, RVDC, FVP, and IVCP were 75%, 80%, 90%, and 95%, respectively, for the patients without pulmonary hypertension and 67%, 58%, 58%, and 83%, respectively, for the patients with pulmonary hypertension. Although all predictive accuracies were lower in patients with pulmonary hypertension, statistically significant decreased predictive accuracy was found only with FVP (p<0.05). Interestingly, IVCP had the best predictive accuracy among patients with pulmonary hypertension. Our findings suggest that despite somewhat decreased accuracy in patients with pulmonary hypertension, traditional echocardiographic clues for pericardial tamponade may be useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-924
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • echocardiography
  • pericardium
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • tamponade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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