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Research Article

Cardiac tamponade and central venous catheters.

Br Med J 1975; 2 doi: (Published 14 June 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;2:595
  1. M J Greenall,
  2. R W Blewitt,
  3. M J McMahon


    An analysis of the reports on 16 patients who developed cardiac tamponade, complicating the use of central venous catheters, showed that 14 died. The two survivors were treated by removal of the catheter and needle aspiration of the pericardial fluid. Some patients complained of warning symptoms such as nausea, pain, and dyspnoea, and the combination of tachycardia, hypotension, and raised venous pressure was common. We suggest that awareness of the hazard, radiographic visualization of the catheter tip, and expeditious treatment would reduce the mortality.