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Selected Reports |

Cardiac Tamponade Following Acupuncture*

Andreas Kirchgatterer, MD; Christian D. Schwarz, MD; Eva Höller, MD; Christian Punzengruber, MD; Peter Hartl, MD; Bernd Eber, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Cardiology (Drs. Kirchgatterer, Höller, Punzengruber, and Eber) and Cardiothoracic Surgery (Drs. Schwarz and Hartl), General Hospital Wels, Austria.

Correspondence to: Andreas Kirchgatterer, MD, Department of Cardiology, General Hospital Wels, Grieskirchnerstr. 42, A-4600 Wels, Austria



Chest. 2000;117(5):1510-1511. doi:10.1378/chest.117.5.1510
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We present a rare complication of acupuncture in a 83-year-old woman who developed syncope and cardiogenic shock shortly after an acupuncture procedure into the sternum. Echocardiography revealed cardiac tamponade, and pericardiocentesis disclosed hemopericardium. Due to hemodynamic instability, thoracotomy was indicated. A small but actively bleeding perforation of the right ventricle was found and successfully closed. Although acupuncture represents a relatively safe therapeutic intervention, this case report should remind all acupuncturists of possible and sometimes life-threatening adverse effects.


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