Malignant pericardial tamponade

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 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


    • carcinoma
    • pericardium
    • tamponade

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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