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Pericardial Tamponade From Central Venous Catheters

Clarence S. Thomas Jr., MD; James W. Carter, MD; Stephen C. Lowder, MD
Arch Surg. 1969;98(2):217-218. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340080109023.
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Central venous pressure monitoring has become a frequently utilized adjunct in management of the critically ill patient. Central venous pressure is usually obtained through a cannula in the right atrium or intrathoracic cava. No technic of cannulation has been entirely free of complications. Recently pericardial tamponade has been added as a potential hazard. This complication can be treated adequately when present and can be prevented if proper technic is utilized. Two cases are presented with pericardial tamponade from cardiac perforation of a central venous cannula, both recognized in the same medical center in a brief period of time.

Report of Cases  Case 1.—A 19-year-old Negro woman was admitted to Vanderbilt University Hospital on Feb 19, 1968 with a small caliber bullet wound of the left hemithorax. At the time of admission a left tube thoracostomy was performed evacuating 500 ml of blood. At the same time a nonradioopaque PE240 36


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