Emergency doctors refer to the area from the clavicle to the xiphoid process at the bottom of the sternum the "cardiac box." Injuries to this area require prompt medical attention, and pericardial tamponade is no exception. Also called cardiac tamponade, this event occurs when the heart is squeezed by uncontrolled fluid build-up in the pericardial sac.
There are two types of tamponade: acute and subacute. The former occurs when between 3.4 and 6.8 ounces of fluid accumulate rapidly. With subacute or chronic pericardial tamponade, the sac slowly accumulates as much as eight cups of fluid over a longer period. While speed and volume are important factors to gauge the development of this condition, the stiffer the pericardium muscle, the less fluid needed to induce cardiac tamponade.
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