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Cardiac tamponade as a presentation of primary adrenal insufficiency
  1. Joseph William Page1,
  2. Joshua Drinkwater2,
  3. Guy Furniss3 and
  4. Mohammad Sahebjalal3
  1. 1Respiratory Medicine, Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, UK
  2. 2Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  3. 3Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Joshua Drinkwater; joshua.drinkwater{at}


Cardiac tamponade is an important and severe consequence of pericardial effusion. Patients with haemodynamically significant pericardial effusions present with signs and symptoms relating to the degree of their impaired cardiac function. Although autoimmune disease is a recognised cause of pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade as a clinical presentation of primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) is infrequently reported. We present a case of a woman, in her early 50s, who was admitted to the coronary care unit with cardiac tamponade caused by an acute adrenal crisis from unrecognised PAI. We hope to raise clinicians’ awareness of PAI as a rare but important cause of cardiac tamponade.

  • cardiovascular medicine
  • pericardial disease
  • radiology (diagnostics)
  • resuscitation
  • adrenal disorders

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  • Contributors All authors treated the patient subject to the case report. JWP and JD drafted the manuscript and provided critical appraisal. GF and MS provided the image and further patient review relating to the management of pericardial effusion. All authors reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.