In patients with a diagnosis of pericardial effusion, especially when accompanied by symptoms or signs of cardiac tamponade, a number of therapeutic interventions are possible. These include emergency stabilization with hydration, avoidance of vasodilators, and potentially pressors. Pericardiocentesis, surgical pericardial windowing, or percutaneous balloon pericardiotomy are potential therapies.

Course Details

In this course, you will learn:
  • To distinguish early emergency therapy for cardiac tamponade from more definitive therapies
  • To describe the techniques for pericardiocentesis in the cardiac catheterization laboratory
  • To summarize surgical therapies for cardiac tamponade and/or recurrent pericardial effusions
  • To review the analysis of fluid removed during treatment of pericardial effusions

Method and medium:

Learners participate in the interactive learning modules by correctly answering multiple choice questions dispersed throughout. Learners will be prompted to try again if a question is answered incorrectly.

The course will open in a new tab – to exit the course, simply close that tab.


Estimated time to Complete: 30 minutes
Credit/contact hours: .5
Expiration date: March 14, 2022
Publication date: March 14, 2019

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Course Author

Michael Ragosta III, MD

Professor of Medicine/Cardiology

Dr. Michael Ragosta is an attending cardiologist at the University of Virginia Health System with a sub-specialty in interventional cardiology. 
Learn More about Michael Ragosta III, MD.

DISCLOSURE: This individual reports no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities.