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Chirurgia 2006 December;19(6):435-7

language: English

Cardiac tamponade as fatal complication of a percutaneous central venous line in a preterm neonate

Puvabanditsin S. 1, Garrow E. 2, Razi S. 1, Davis E. 1, Padilla J. 1, Chowdawarapu S. C. 1

1 Department of Pediatrics, Jersey City Medical Center University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark, New Jersey, USA
2 SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA


The recent use of soft catheters made of silastic polymeric silicone or polyurethrane for parenteral nutrition in neonates has been widely accepted in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We present a case of cardiac tamponade in the neonatal period that caused sudden and unexpected death following the insertion of the percutaneous central venous catheter. The pericardial effusion contained parenteral nutrition fluid. Osmotic injury to the great vessels and/or myocardium seems to be the common mechanism. Review of the pediatric literature revealed few cases of neonates with cardiac tamponade. Despite a high mortality rate, early recognition can prevent a fatal outcome.

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