Cardiac tamponade in a patient with dengue fever and lupus nephritis: A case report

Sunil Kumar, Alina Iuga, Raymonde Jean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Cases of small pericardial effusion have been reported in association with dengue fever (DF), largely with dengue hemorrhagic fever during epidemic outbreaks. However, cardiac tamponade developed by a patient with DF has not yet been reported in the English literature. We report a case of cardiac tamponade in a patient with DF and lupus nephritis. We describe the characteristic features to differentiate pericardial effusion of lupus origin from that of viral etiology. A 59-year-old Hispanic woman presented to the emergency department with complaints of 5 to 6 days of fever, myalgia, headache, and retro-orbital pain. Her symptoms started 3 days after returning from the Dominican Republic, where a dengue outbreak was reported. Her past medical history was significant for hypertension and lupus nephritis diagnosed 3 months earlier. On day 2, patient developed a large pericardial effusion that progressed to tamponade over the next 2 days, requiring surgical drainage. Subsequently, the patient improved; however, serological analysis did not suggest any lupus flare-up. Pericardial fluid analysis showed hypocellularity without lupus erythematosus cell and biopsy revealed only reactive mesothelial cells suggestive of viral etiology. Dengue serology was reported as markedly elevated, supporting a diagnosis of classic DF (both immunoglobulin M [IgM] titer 2.93 and IgG titer 12.13 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]; reference range: <0.90 for both). Absence of rise in serum antinuclear antibody (ANA) titer correlated with lack of inflammatory changes on the pericardium favored viral etiology over lupus origin. This differentiation is pertinent from a management perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-178
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Dengue fever
  • Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cardiac tamponade in a patient with dengue fever and lupus nephritis: A case report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this