Cardiac tamponade in patients with human immunodeficiency virus disease

Ramesh M. Gowda, Ijaz A. Khan, Nirav J. Mehta, Mamatha R. Gowda, Terrence J. Sacchi, Balendu C. Vasavada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The characteristics of cardiac tamponade in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease were examined by evaluating the cases, case series, and related articles, including autopsy series, identified through a comprehensive literature search. One-hundred eighty-five cases of cardiac tamponade have been reported in patients with HIV disease. Sex data were available in 176 patients, of whom 154 (87%) were males. The mean age was 34.7 ± 10.4 years (range, 11 months to 61 years). Mean CD4 cell count was 98 ± 95 cells/mm3 (range, 3 to 430 cells/mm3). The most common etiology of pericardial tamponade was mycobacterial infection (78 patients), including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare, and Mycobacterium kansasii. A bacterial cause was found in 20 patients (11%). Staphylococcus aureus was the predominant bacteria, followed by streptococci, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Listeria monocytogenes, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Rhodococcus equi. Lymphoma was found in 15 (8%) patients and Kaposi sarcoma in 13 (7%) patients. Numerous unusual organisms, including Cryptococcus neoformans, Nocardia asteroides, Aspergillus species, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex were also associated with cardiac tamponade in HIV patients. Occasionally, HIV itself was involved in the pathogenesis. In 48 patients (26%), no cause was found or reported. The most common clinical presentation was dyspnea, followed by fever, cough, chest pain, and cardiac arrest. The predominant pericardial fluid color composition was serosanguineous. The majority of patients died during hospitalization or in the immediate follow-up period. Vigilance for cardiac tamponade in patients with HIV disease, especially in those with opportunistic infections and/or malignancies, and cardiac symptoms, may result in early and proper management of cardiac tamponade in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-474
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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