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
- Increased heart rate
- 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.