Post traumatic left cardiac luxation: A case report

Mokhles Lajmi, Imen Ben Ismail, Wafa Ragmoun, Houssem Messaoudi, Hatem Lahdhili, Slim Chenik
International Journal of Surgery Case Reports 2020 May 15, 71: 205-208

INTRODUCTION: Rupture of the pericardium complicating blunt thoracic trauma may lead to cardiac luxation if not early recognized and appropriately surgically treated. This condition is exceedingly rare and carries a high mortality rate.

CASE PRESENTATION: A 37-year-old man presented with severe multiple injuries following a road traffic crash, including blunt trauma to the thorax and abdomen. He was in a hemodynamically stable condition. The chest radiograph and CT scan revealed a leftward heart herniation through a pericardial tear, there were also non surgical hepatic and splenic lesions. The diagnosis of left cardiac luxation with no associated valvular lesions was made. Surgical exploration via a midline sternotomy revealed a protruding heart herniating into the left pleural cavity through a large tear (15 cm) of the left pericardium. Sutures with Teflon felt pledgets were performed. The postoperative chest radiograph was normal and the postoperative course was uneventful.

DISCUSSION: Post traumatic heart luxation diagnosis is clinically difficult because the scarcity of signs and lack of specificity. Chest X ray can be suggestive, and specific findings can only be detected by computed tomography, which is the most sensitive diagnostic method. Surgical management in this condition is mandatory to avoid fatal complications such as great vessels strangulation. It consists of replacing the heart in the pericardial sac and repairing the pericardial tear.

CONCLUSION: Despite its rare occurrence, trauma surgeons must be aware of cardiac luxation. Any suspicion of such a diagnosis would warrant surgical exploration to avoid fatal complications.

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