Dr. Alrich L. Gray // Central Montana Heart & Vascular Institute


Cardiac tamponade occurs when the fluid around the heart builds up and begins to restrict the ability of the heart to expand and pump blood effectively. Tamponade is a life threatening condition and should be treated immediately. Symptoms of tamponade include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Fainting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the abdomen or legs

To treat tamponade, your doctor will drain the excess fluid surrounding the heart using a long, thin tube called a catheter. He may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the amount of fluid around the heart.