Perm J. 2019;23. pii: 18-104. doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-104.
Acute Influenza Infection Presenting with Cardiac Tamponade: A Case Report and Review of Literature.

Pandey Y1, Hasan R1, Joshi KP2, Habash FJ1, Jagana R3.
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Cardiac complications associated with influenza infection can occur either via a direct effect of the virus on the heart or through exacerbation of preexisting cardiovascular disease. We present a case of a 57-year-old man with acute influenza infection complicated by pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade.

A 57-year-old white man presented to the Emergency Department with sudden onset of severe, nonexertional, retrosternal, pressure-like chest pain for a few hours and with fever and muscle aches for 2 days. The patient was initially admitted because of suspected acute coronary syndrome. The next morning, he complained of acute-onset shortness of breath and had hypotension and tachycardia. On examination, his peripheral extremities were cold and heart sounds were distant. Pulsus paradoxus was 20 mmHg. The electrocardiogram showed low-voltage QRS complex with electrical alternans. An urgently performed bedside echocardiogram showed moderate pericardial effusion with a small right ventricular cavity with diastolic collapse. Emergent pericardiocentesis was performed, with removal of 250 mL of fluid from the pericardial space. The patient's hemodynamic status immediately improved. Analyses of pericardial fluid demonstrated no bacteria, acid-fast bacilli, or malignant cells. The result of a rapid influenza diagnostic test with polymerase chain reaction was positive for influenza A virus, with other viral panels yielding normal results. The patient was treated with oseltamivir for 5 days.

Pericardial involvement is a rare and perhaps underreported complication of influenza infection. Early recognition of cardiac symptoms and appropriate diagnostic workup in a patient presenting with influenza-like symptoms is important to avoid life-threatening complications.

PMID: 30624200 DOI: 10.7812/TPP/18-104