Review of ventricular rupture: key concepts and diagnostic tools for success

Davis, Nicholas; Sistino, Joseph J
January 2002
Perfusion;Jan2002, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p63
Academic Journal
Although a rare complication of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), ventricular rupture is a serious event associated with significant mortality and morbidity. Patients normally present with hemodynamic instability, often in cardiogenic shock. Despite improvements in surgical techniques and diagnostic tools, post-myocardial infarction ventricular rupture remains a difficult therapeutic challenge. There are three categories of ventricular rupture: free wall rupture (FWR), ventricular septal rupture (VSR), and papillary muscle rupture (PWR). The incidence of FWR occurs following up to 10% of myocardial infarctions. VSR and PWR have a lower incidence of 1-2% and 0.5-5%, respectively. Patients often present with single-vessel coronary artery disease and usually do not have a positive history for a previous myocardial infarction. The incidence of post infarction angina in these patients is significantly greater than in patients without ventricular rupture. Delay in treatment and continued physical activity post infarction increases the risk of ventricular rupture. Diagnostic tools such as two-dimensional echocardiography and cardiac catheterization confirm the diagnosis of ventricular rupture in only 45-88% of cases. Knowledge of the disease progression is necessary to insure accurate and timely diagnosis. Due to the rapid deterioration of these patients, there is a 50-80% mortality rate within the first week if untreated. With surgical correction, patients can extend their 5-year survival rates to 65%. A good example of the complex course of ventricular rupture is the case of a 71-year-old patient at our institution. The patient presented in cardiogenic shock following an AMI. Preoperative diagnosis was unsuccessful in determining the extent of the ventricular rupture. The correct diagnosis was determined in the operating room, and both a mitral valve replacement and closure of a ventricular septal defect were completed. The patient was successfully treated with this difficult pathology.


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