Cardiac tamponade is a condition involving compression of the heart caused by blood or fluid accumulation in the space between the myocardium (the muscle of the heart) and the pericardium (the outer covering sac of the heart). Blood or fluid collects within the pericardium. This prevents the ventricles from expanding fully, so they cannot adequately fill or pump blood. Cardiac tamponade is an emergency condition that requires hospitalization.
Review Date 5/15/2018
Updated by: Mary C. Mancini, MD, PhD, Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Christus Highland Medical Center, Shreveport, LA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.