The nurse is caring for a patient with pericarditis. Knowing that this condition places the patient at risk for cardiac tamponade, the nurse should monitor for:


• Pericarditis can progress to a pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade

• Cardiac tamponade occurs when fluid fills the pericardial space like a blister surrounding the heart, causing an increase in pressure. As the pressure increases on the heart, less blood can enter the ventricles, and the heart struggles to pump. Cardiac output is greatly diminished

• Signs of cardiac tamponade include muffled heart soundstachycardia, hypotension, jugular vein distention, and a paradoxical pulse

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