Several clinical predictors have been used to detect significant pericardial effusion. Our aim was to study their usefulness in diagnosing patients with significant pericardial effusion.
Medical records of all patients with pericardial effusion who required pericardiocentesis at Coney Island Hospital from July 1, 1997 to June 30, 2002 were reviewed.
See Table below. (Table not provided)
Clinical predictors of pericardial effusion like Pulsus Paradoxus, electrical alternans and low voltage complexes are specific but not-sensitive for detecting the presence of significant pericardial effusion, including tamponade. Volume of pericardial effusion at the time of pericardiocentesis was also not an accurate predictor of tamponade.
Clinical predictors of pericardial effusion though accurate are not useful because of low sensitivity in identifying patients with significant pericardial effusion including those with tamponade. Therefore they cannot be relied on to detect even significant pericardial effusion and echocardiography is needed for this purpose.
V. Rupanagudi, None.