Ultrasound-Guided Emergency Pericardiocentesis of a Patient with Multiple Myeloma in a Resource Limited Setting

  • Arpith Easo Samuel Department of Emergency Medicine, Baby Memorial Hospital, Kerala, India.
  • Reshma Balembi Krishna Department of Emergency Medicine, Baby Memorial Hospital, Kerala, India.
Keywords: Cardiac tamponade, Emergency pericardiocentesis, Multiple myeloma, Resource limited setting


Introduction: Cardiac tamponade, a variant of cardiogenic shock, is a medical emergency. A traumatic cardiac tamponade is an expected phenomenon; however, in non-traumatic events such as malignant pathology, it is usually less dramatic and takes several days or weeks to manifest. Occurrence of tamponade physiology due to pericardial effusion in a patient with multiple myeloma is a distinctly unusual entity. The involvement of a serous cavity in multiple myeloma is rare and pericardial effusion in such a case is due to restrictive cardiomyopathy or amyloidosis, a presentation late in the course of the disease that carries a grave prognosis. Case presentation: We present to you a case of a 60-year-old patient with cardiac tamponade due to pericardial effusion secondary to an advanced multiple myeloma. Due to the early diagnosis, she underwent a successful emergency pericardiocentesis with a central venous catheter under ultrasound guidance even in a resource limited emergency department (ED) of a district in southern India. She also showed marked improvement after the procedure and was transferred to the intensive care unit for further management. Conclusion: Cardiac tamponade is not an “all or none” phenomenon, but rather a continuum of findings. A high index of suspicion and timely clinical decision-making is the key for an emergency physician. Although there are several mimics for cardiac tamponade in ED, it is important for an emergency physician to be aware of such varied presentations of a disease spectrum owing to its rarity and clinical importance.


1. Retter AS. Pericardial disease in the oncology patient. Heart Dis. 2002;4(6):387-91.
2. Garg S, King G, Morginstin M. Malignant pericardial effusion: an unusual presentation of multiple myeloma. Clin Microbiol Case Rep. 2015;2(1):010.
3. Mandavia D, Hoffner R, Mahaney K, Henderson S. Bedside echocardiography by emergency physicians. Ann Emerg Med. 2001;38(4):377-82.
4. Little WC, Freeman GL. Pericardial disease. Circulation. 2006;113(12):1622-32.
5. Maisch B, Seferović PM, Ristić AD, Erbel R, Rienmüller R, Adler Y, et al. Guidelines on the diagnosis and management of pericardial diseases executive summary: the Task Force on the Diagnosis and Management of Pericardial Diseases of the European Society of Cardiology. Eur Heart J. 2004;25(7):587-610.
6. Goodman A, Perera P, Mailhot T, Mandavia D. The role of bedside ultrasound in the diagnosis of pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade. J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2012;5(1):72-5.
7. Tsang T, Freeman W, Sinak L, Seward J. Echocardiographically guided pericardiocentesis: evolution and state-of-the-art technique. Mayo Clin Proc. 1998;73(7):647-52.
8. Seferović P, Ristić A, Imazio M, Maksimović R, Simeunović D, Trinchero R, et al. Management strategies in pericardial emergencies. Herz. 2006;31(9):891-900.
9. Loukas M, Walters A, Boon J, Welch T, Meiring J, Abrahams PH. Pericardiocentesis: a clinical anatomy review. Clin Anat. 2012;25(7):872-81.
How to Cite
Samuel, A., & Krishna, R. (2017). Ultrasound-Guided Emergency Pericardiocentesis of a Patient with Multiple Myeloma in a Resource Limited Setting. Advanced Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2(1), e9. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.22114/ajem.v0i0.28
Case (report / study)