Coronary or ventricular rupture after blunt chest trauma? A clinical dilemma

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Abstract

Cardiac rupture (CR) is one of the most serious and life-threatening complications of blunt chest trauma (BCT) usually associated with high mortality. Moreover, its diagnosis and treatment strategies may be extremely challenging for clinicians due to various anatomical localisations of the tear. Whereas most injuries fall under the category of right atrial ruptures, left ventricular lesions represent a rare type of this injury, with greater mortality, particularly in cases of multi-chamber injuries. However, not only cardiac chamber or great vessel ruptures may occur as a result of BCT; a growing number of reports also describe BCT-induced isolated coronary artery injuries, including ruptures. Whereas CR requires immediate surgical treatment, less invasive interventional techniques, such as stent placement and closure with fibrin glue or coils, can be the treatment of choice in selected cases of hemodynamically less relevant coronary artery ruptures. In this report, we present a rare case of a ventricular rupture following BCT, with the tear localized in the right ventricular wall and an occult connection to the left ventricle without ventricular septum injury. Also, another contemporaneous emergency in our department that had to be managed at the same time resulted in challenging the decision-making process. As such an emergency constellation is difficult to manage, this report may help clinicians in difficult situations in terms of diagnosis and choosing the right treatment strategy.

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