Malignant pericardial tamponade

D. Rinkevich, R. Borovik, M. Bendett, W. Markiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We studied the clinical course and management of 27 patients with malignant pericardial tamponade seen in a single Medical Center over a 10 year period. Patients treated with repeat pericardial tap as their only mode of therapy had a high rate of recurrent tamponade (6 of 13 subjects) whereas most patients treated with drainage (either surgical or percutaneous) had sustained control of their pericardial effusion (achieved in 10/13 subjects). Intra‐pericardial instillation of tetracycline or cyclophosphamide did not clearly improve the good results obtained with drainage alone. Extensive pericardiectomy was required in 2 patients only. Irrespective of the mode of therapy, survival was poor in patients with carcinoma of lung (N = 10) with a median survival of 30 days only vs. 135 days for patients with breast carcinoma (N = 10). Patients with malignant pericardial tamponade are best treated with immediate drainage. Percutaneous and sub‐xiphoid surgical drainage are equally effective. Despite invasion of the pericardium by carcinoma, patients with a good oncologic prognosis may enjoy an appreciable survival with adequate quality of life following relief of tamponade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • carcinoma
  • pericardium
  • tamponade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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