Clinical Case Database / Category: Clinical Care

Management of malignant pericardial effusion

Publication details

Foundation Years Journal, volume 2, issue 4, p.189 (123Doc Education, London, April 2008)


A 65-year-old woman presents to the medical admissions unit (MAU) with a 4-week history of progressive dyspnoea, weight loss, swelling over feet and a hacking cough worse on lying down and improving on leaning forward and sitting upright. She was previously diagnosed as having metastatic breast cancer and had recently completed her course of palliative chemotherapy a few months back. She continues on endocrine treatment with tamoxifen. There was no other relevant past history.

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Rohit Malde MBBS, MD

Rohit Malde MBBS, MD
Specialist Registrar in Clinical Oncology
Bristol Oncology Centre


Consultant in Clinical Oncology
Bristol Oncology centre
Horfield Road
Bristol BS2 8ED


1. Wilkes JD, Fidias P, Vaickus L, et al. Malignancy-related pericardial effusion. Cancer 1995; 76:1377.
2. Press OW, Livingston R. Management of malignant pericardial effusion and tamponade. JAMA 1987; 257:1088–92.
3. Malamou-Mitsi VD, Zioga AP, Agnantis NJ. Diagnostic accuracy of pericardial fluid cytology: an analysis of 53 specimens from 44 consecutive patients. Diagn Cytopathol 1996; 15(3):197–204.
4. Martinoni A, Cipolla CM, Cardinale D, et al. Long-term results of intrapericardial chemotherapeutic treatment of malignant pericardial effusions with thiotepa. Chest 2004; 126(5):1412–6.
5. Vaitkus PT, Herrman HC, LeWinter MM. Treatment of malignant pericardial effusion. JAMA 1994; 272:59–64.


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T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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