Clinical presentation of rupture of the left-ventricular free wall after myocardial infarction: report of five cases with successful surgical repair.
Rupture of the left-ventricular free wall may not always result in immediate irreversible hemodynamic collapse. We report a series of five patients (4 male, 1 female; age 59-79 years) successfully operated for postinfarction free-wall rupture with good long-term results. Two patients presented with syncopy and acute tamponade three days after an acute myocardial infarction. In two patients with atypical chest pain and congestive heart failure, a large pericardial effusion and an extreme localized thinning of a myocardial scar region was seen several weeks after an uncomplicated myocardial infarct. In one patient a pseudoaneurysm was detected, which developed asymptomatically within three weeks after a posterior myocardial infarct. In all cases myocardial rupture was suspected after an echocardiographic examination. At surgery a hemopericardium and a localized rupture site were found. The surgical procedure included closure of the defect by direct suture or patch, CABG in 3 cases, and mitral valve replacement in one patient. The postoperative course was uneventful, only one patient needed IABP for 24 hours. Three patients returned to NYHA functional class I, one patient to class II, and one patient to class III. The latter patient died of heart failure 17 months postoperatively, and the other patients are still alive 4,18,24, and 26 months postoperatively. Thus clinical representation of left-ventricular free-wall rupture after myocardial infarction can be highly variable. But close cooperation between experienced echocardiographers and surgeons may allow successful corrections with good long term-results.
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