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Can Pleural Effusions Cause Cardiac Tamponade?*

Hasan B. Alam, MD; Adam Levitt, MD; Robert Molyneaux, PA-C; Paul Davidson, PA-C; George A. Sample, MD, FCCP
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*From the Section of Surgical Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC.

Correspondence to: George A. Sample, MD, FCCP, Department of Surgical Critical Care, Room-4B42, Washington Hospital Center, 110 Irving St, NW, Washington, DC 20010



Chest. 1999;116(6):1820-1822. doi:10.1378/chest.116.6.1820
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Pleural effusion(s) can increase the pressure of an otherwise insignificant pericardial effusion to a degree that can result in cardiac tamponade. The case histories presented here illustrate the importance of recognizing this phenomenon and altering our treatment algorithm to drain the pleural effusions instead of the pericardial collections.

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