Cardiac Tamponade

Distant heart sounds
Distended jugular veins
Decreased arterial pressure

What you need to know about Beck’s Triad

Beck’s triads consists of three cardiovascular signs and symptoms that indicates cardiac tamponade. Beck’s triad is considered a medical emergency!

Beck’s triads created by Dr. Claude Beck who is a cardio thoracic surgeon in 1935.

Beck’s triad starts with the letters D’s to help you remember.

In order to understand Beck’s triad, one must understand what cardiac tamponade is.

What is Cardiac Tamponade?

In layman’s term, cardiac tamponade is when pressure is placed on the heart until it stops working properly.

This pressure occurs from fluid accumulating in the pericardial space. This can block the blood flowing properly into the ventricles.

Cardiac tamponade can be fatal and must be treated as soon as possible.

Breakdown of Beck’s Triad

  1. Distant heart sounds:
    The distant heart sounds are due to the fluids accumulating around the heart which acts as a sound barrier. This makes it difficult to hear the heart sounds.
  2. Distended jugular veins:
    The distended jugular veins’ caused by the rising central venous pressure. It can be seen as a bulged vein that runs down the client’s neck.
  3. Decreased arterial pressure:
    Decreased arterial pressure is the result of reduced cardiac output that occurs from the fluid accumulating around the heart.

Causes of Cardiac Tamponade

  • Idiopathic pericarditis
  • Cardiac operations
  • Trauma
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Kidney failure
  • Ruptured aortic aneurysm

Other Symptoms of Cardiac Tamponade to Look Out For

  • Tachycardia
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling cold and clammy
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Dyspnea

How Cardiac Tamponade is Treated

Cardiac tamponade is treated with relieving the fluid from the pericardial sac through a procedure called pericardiocentesis.

Oxygen, fluids, and medications will be given to increase blood pressure, improve symptoms, and stabilize the client’s condition.