Intracardiac shunt with hypoxemia caused by right ventricular dysfunction following pericardiocentesis
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Significant hypoxemia can result from right-to-left intracardiac shunting through a patent foramen ovale, an atrial septal defect or a ventricular septal defect. Pulmonary embolus, congenital heart disease and pericardial tamponade are well-recognized causes of right-to-left shunting. However, right-to-left shunting can also follow pericardiocentesis. A case of profound hypoxemia caused by right ventricular hypokinesis precipitated by pericardial tap is reported. This under-recognized entity can be responsible for significant morbidity in the critical care setting. The clinical presentation, natural history, diagnosis and treatment of hypoxemia caused by intracardiac shunt following pericardiocentesis are discussed.
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