Cardiac tamponade: Contrast reflux as an indicator of cardiac chamber equalization

Foeke Jacob H. Nauta, Wernard Aat A. Borstlap, Michael Stella, Zain Khalpey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Traumatic hemopericardium remains a rare entity; it does however commonly cause cardiac tamponade which remains a major cause of death in traumatic blunt cardiac injury.Objectives: We present a case of blunt chest trauma complicated by cardiac tamponade causing cardiac chamber equalization revealed by reflux of contrast.Case report: A 29-year-old unidentified male suffered blunt chest trauma in a motor vehicle collision. Computed tomography (CT) demonstrated a periaortic hematoma and hemopericardium. Significant contrast reflux was seen in the inferior vena cava and hepatic veins suggesting a change in cardiac chamber pressures. After intensive treatment including cardiac massage this patient expired of cardiac arrest.Conclusion: Reflux of contrast on CT imaging can be an indicator of traumatic cardiac tamponade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number48
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 31 2012


  • Blunt trauma
  • Cardiac hemodynamics
  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Contrast reflux
  • Hemopericardium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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