ISSN : 1301-5680
e-ISSN : 2149-8156
Turkish Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery     
Left ventricular perforation during cardiac catheterization: a case report
Tamer Türk1, Ahmet Hakan Vural1, Yusuf Ata1, Hakan Özkan2 Şenol Yavuz
1Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Bursa Yüksek İhtisas Training and Research Hospital, Bursa
2Department of Cardiology, Bursa Yüksek İhtisas Training and Research Hospital, Bursa


The incidence of acute left ventricular perforation and cardiac tamponade as a complication of diagnostic left heart catheterization is very rare. We report myocardial perforation during left ventriculography of a patient who required emergent surgical repair.

In the era of rapidly advancing technology, there is a large increase in the number of catheter based procedures. Cardiac perforation and tamponade is a fatal complication that may result from catheter based procedures. Prompt recognition and rapid treatment of this fatal complication is essential. We report a successful surgical treatment of a left ventricular perforation that occurred during diagnostic catheterization.

Case Presentation

A 74-year-old woman was referred to our institute with exertional angina. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease included hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Physical examination showed no abnormalities. The electrocardiogram showed sinus rhythm with no Q-waves and ST abnormalities. Coronary angiography was planned for the patient. After insertion of the femoral catheter, a pig tail angiography catheter was used for the ventriculography. Sudden and unanticipated hemodynamic collapse appeared just after the performance of the ventriculography. Recognizing the leak from the apical portion of the left ventricle (Fig. 1, 2) we performed an emergent pericardiocentesis by a subxiphoid small incision. Because of the ongoing bleeding and hemodynamical instability the patient was taken to the operation room. After gaining access with median sternotomy and evacuation of the pericardial hematoma, left ventricular perforation site at the apical portion was found and repaired with pledgeted sutures. The patient recovered uneventfully and was discharged on postoperative sixth day.

Fig 1: Mid-sistolic ventriculographic image showing the leak around the apical portion of the left ventricle to the pericardial space.

Fig 2: End-sistolic ventriculographic image showing the leak around the apical portion of the left ventricle to the pericardial space.


With the advancing technology, catheter based diagnostic and interventional procedures are being performed with an increasing frequency.[1-4] Therefore, incidence of catheter based complications might be encountered.[4] Cardiac perforation is a rare fatal complication of diagnostic and interventional procedures that may cause acute hemorrhagic pericardial tamponade. The incidence of cardiac perforation has been reported previously as 1.5%-4.7% during valvuloplasty,[3-5] 0.2%-1% for radiofrequency ablation,[6,7] 0.1%-0.2% for electrophysiologic study,[3,8] 0.38% for cardiac biopsy,[3] 0.08% for coronary angioplasty,[3] and 0.006%-0.01% during diagnostic catheterization.[3,4] Gehl et al.[9] reported three cardiac perforations during diagnostic cardiac catheterization among 6675 patients, perforation sites were the left atrium in two patients and right atrium in one patient. Keltai et al.[10] described four cases of cardiac perforation in 11000 procedures; one at the left atrium and three in the right ventricle. As it can be concluded from these previous reports, perforation sites may be different according to the procedure but left ventricular perforation without a prior myocardial infarction is very rare.

Cardiac perforation was recognized most commonly when acute cardiac collapse developed during or immediately after a catheter based procedure. Echo-guided pericardiocentesis is a choice of treatment of cardiac tamponade[3] but surgical exploration is indicated when control of bleeding and hemodynamic stability is not restored rapidly.

As a conclusion, cardiac perforation, even during diagnostic cardiac catheterization should not be underestimated and must be remembered that prompt recognition of the complication allows rapid and effective treatment.


1) Von Sohsten R, Kopistansky C, Cohen M, Kussmaul WG 3rd. Cardiac tamponade in the “new device” era: evaluation of 6999 consecutive percutaneous coronary interventions. Am Heart J 2000;140:279-83.

2) Wyman RM, Safian RD, Portway V, Skillman JJ, McKay RG, Baim DS. Current complications of diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac catheterization. Am Coll Cardiol 1988; 12:1400-6.

3) Tsang TS, Freeman WK, Barnes ME, Reeder GS, Packer DL, Seward JB. Rescue echocardiographically guided pericardiocentesis for cardiac perforation complicating catheter-based procedures. The Mayo Clinic experience. J Am Coll Cardiol 1998;32:1345-50.

4) Friedrich SP, Berman AD, Baim DS, Diver DJ. Myocardial perforation in the cardiac catheterization laboratory: incidence, presentation, diagnosis, and management. Cathet Cardiovasc Diagn 1994;32:99-107.

5) Isner JM. Acute catastrophic complications of balloon aortic valvuloplasty. The Mansfield Scientific Aortic Valvuloplasty Registry Investigators. J Am Coll Cardiol 1991;17:1436-44.

6) Complications of radiofrequency ablation: A French experience. Le Groupe de Rythmologie de la Société Francaise de Cardiologie. Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss 1996;89:1599-605. [Abstract]

7) Lesh MD, Van Hare GF, Schamp DJ, Chien W, Lee MA, Griffin JC, et al. Curative percutaneous catheter ablation using radiofrequency energy for accessory pathways in all locations: results in 100 consecutive patients. J Am Coll Cardiol 1992;19:1303-9.

8) Horowitz LN. Safety of electrophysiologic studies. Circulation 1986;73(2 Pt 2):II28-31.

9) Gehl L, Iskandrian AS, Goel I, Mintz GS, Kimbiris D, Bemis CE, et al. Cardiac perforation with tamponade during cardiac catheterization. Cathet Cardiovasc Diagn 1982;8:293-8.

10) Keltai M, Farkas P, Dékány P. Catheter perforation of the heart. Cor Vasa 1986;28:365-8.

Keywords : Cardiac catheterization; ventricular rupture; cardiac tamponade
Viewed : 11381
Downloaded : 3102