The Beck Triad: Pathology, Risk Factors, Symptoms and Diagnosis

The cardiologist Claude Beck, who was a professor of cardiovascular surgery, identified for the first time the condition that later took his name.

The Beck Triad of the heart includes three medical signs that indicate cardiac tamponade . Cardiac tamponade is a medical emergency in which fluid builds up around the heart and decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood.

The result is the triad of low blood pressure, jugular venous distension and muffled heart sounds. In cardiac tamponade, a narrow pulse pressure is regularly observed.


The accumulation of fluid in the pericardial sac, particularly if it occurs rapidly, can cause a marked increase in pressure outside the heart; this subsequently reduces the ability of the ventricles to accommodate sufficient blood volume at the end of diastole.

According to Frank Starling’s law, a decrease in the final diastolic volume means a weaker stroke volume and, therefore, a lower systolic blood pressure.

In addition, the increase in external pressure reduces the final systolic filling capacity of the atria, therefore, a rapid increase and a higher pressure in the atria leads to an increase in pressure and distension of the jugular veins, even when the Patient is in an upright position.

Excess fluid around the heart muffles heart sounds.

Heart conditions include a wide variety of diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect the heart and, sometimes, the blood vessels.

The types of heart conditions include angina, heart attack (myocardial infarction), atherosclerosis , heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).

Other forms of heart conditions include congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, heart infections, coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, myocarditis, and pericarditis.

The symptoms of heart conditions vary according to the specific type of heart conditions. A classic symptom of some heart conditions is chest pain.

However, with some forms of heart conditions, such as atherosclerosis, there may be no symptoms in some people until life-threatening complications occur.

Risk factor’s

Risk factors include hypertension , diabetes, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia ), obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Other risk factors for heart conditions include being African American, male, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, having a lot of long-term stress, smoking, and having a family history of a heart attack at a young age.

Certain congenital heart defects can be inherited and / or be caused by exposure during pregnancy to specific toxins. Pregnant women with some conditions and diseases may have an increased risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect.

People who have high levels of protein C, which increases atherosclerosis, also have an increased risk of heart disease. In addition, people who have high levels of homocysteine, which can damage the walls of the arteries and increase the risk of blood clots, are also at greater risk.

Making a diagnosis of heart conditions includes completing a complete medical evaluation and a history and physical examination.

A comprehensive evaluation of a licensed health professional includes collecting and analyzing many factors that affect the risk of heart disease.

These include lifestyle, family history, personal history, eating habits, weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, stress levels and smoking / drinking habits.

Tests that can be used to diagnose heart conditions or the risk of developing heart conditions include blood tests, stress tests, EKG, x-rays, and imaging tests, such as a cardiac scan, ultrasound, and echocardiogram.

coronary angiogram can be a dome in certain cases. A coronary angiogram is an invasive procedure that reveals which coronary arteries narrow or block.

It is very possible that the diagnosis of some heart conditions is lost or delayed because there may be no symptoms and for other reasons.

Symptoms of the Beck Triad

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for the Beck Triad includes the 4 symptoms listed below:

  • High venous pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Little heart.
  • Silent heart


The findings of the examination in patients with pericardial effusion include the following:

  • Classic Beck triad of pericardial tamponade: hypotension, muffled heart sounds, jugular venous distension.
  • Pulse paradoxus.
  • Pericardial friction rub.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Reflujo hepatoyugular.
  • Decrease in the sounds of breathing.
  • Ewart sign: dulling percussion under the angle of the left scapula.
  • Hepatoesplenomegalia.
  • Weak peripheral pulses, edema and cyanosis .