vanPOCUS: Pericardial Effusion and Tamponade

Vancouver POCUS introduction to cardiac POCUS with a review of assessment for pericardial effusions and sonographic findings in cardiac tamponade by Dr Justin Ahn

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Dr Neil Long BMBS FACEM FRCEM FRCPC. Emergency Physician at Kelowna hospital, British Columbia. Loves the misery of alpine climbing and working in austere environments (namely tertiary trauma centres). Supporter of FOAMed, lifelong education and trying to find that elusive peak performance.


    • Hi Maram. I’m assuming you are referring to an indentation in the right atrium during ventricular systole. In that case, the literature would indicate a collapse in the right atrium for >1/3rd of the systolic cardiac cycle is significant. This is all part of piecing the puzzle together. I.e. I’d want to see plethoric IVC as well. All these signs can’t be taken in isolation, and it is a spectrum of disease. If you had a patient you were concerned about, and all you saw was a pericardial effusion and a little indentation on the right atrium during atrial diastole, it might be the start of tamponade physiology, but I’d repeat the echo 1-2 hours later to see if the situation was evolving. I hope this helps and answers your question.

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