Cardiac tamponade due to bleeding as a potential lethal complication after surgery for esophageal cancer

Shuhei Ito, Masaru Morita, Sho Nanbara, Yu Nakaji, Kouji Andou, Yukiharu Hiyoshi, Tatsuro Okamoto, Hiroshi Saeki, Eiji Oki, Hirofumi Kawanaka, Yoshihisa Tanoue, Yoshihiko Maehara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cardiac tamponade, due to bleeding in the pericardial space after esophagectomy for esophageal cancer, is an extremely rare complication and may be associated with sudden hemodynamic instability that can lead to death unless there is prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Case Report: A 76-year-old man underwent subtotal esophagectomy via a cervico-right thoracoabdominal approach and reconstruction with a gastric tube through the retrosternal route. On postoperative day 4, the patient developed hypotension due to cardiac tamponade caused by bleeding into the pericardial space and he had a decreased level of consciousness. Pericardial resection and open drainage via a minimal left anterior thoracotomy was performed that resulted in hemodynamic improvement followed by an uneventful recovery.

Conclusion: Cardiac tamponade due to postoperative bleeding, which is a rare but life-threatening complication, should be considered as a cause of hemodynamic instability in the early postoperative period after esophagectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-412
Number of pages6
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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