Pericardial tamponade, a new complication of amyloid heart disease

Scott Brodarick, Robert Paine, Enrique Higa, Kim A. Carmichael

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20 Scopus citations


With advancing age of the population and with echocardiographic means of diagnosis, amyloid disease of the heart is of increasing clinical interest. Advanced age, restrictive myocardiopathy, arrhythmias, and conduction disorders are familiar features of this disease. A 92 year old man with past history of hemiblock followed by complete heart block and transvenous pacemaker was admitted to the hospital because of increasing fatigue and the abrupt development of dyspnea. Examination revealed paradoxic pulse, markedly elevated central venous pressure, and echocardiographically demonstrated large pericardial effusion. Shortly after admission signs of tamponade developed; 1,000 ml of pericardial fluid was removed with prompt relief of dyspnea and disappearance of paradoxic pulse and return of central venous pressure to normal. However, dyspnea soon recurred and subsequent hemodynamic measurements indicated increased right ventricular and left ventricular filling pressures. Echocardiography revealed no recurrent effusion or ventricular hypokinesis. Left ventricular ejection fraction by radionuclide ventricutogram was 64 percent. Echocardiography revealed ventricular wall thickening, normal chamber size, and glittering, sparkling myocardial echoes. On postmortem examination, there was extensive myocardial amyloidosis. There was no evidence of constrictive pericarditis or recurrent effusion. The unique aspect of this case was the combined presence of restrictive myocardiopathy and pericardial tamponade. To our knowledge, no previous case of tamponade due to amyloid heart disease has been reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-135
Number of pages3
JournalThe American journal of medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1982


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