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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Cardiac tamponade and para-aortic hematoma post elective surgical myocardial revascularization on a beating heart – a possible complication of the Lima-stitch and sequential venous anastomosis

Anna Marcinkiewicz1*, Ryszard Jaszewski1, Katarzyna Piestrzeniewicz2 and Radosław Zwoliński1

Author Affiliations

1 Cardiac Surgery Clinic, Chair of Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Military Medical Academy University Teaching Hospital - Central Veterans’ Hospital in Lodz, Sterling 1/3 St, Lodz 91-425, Poland

2 Department of Cardiology, Chair of Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Military Medical Academy University Teaching Hospital - Central Veterans’ Hospital in Lodz, Lodz, Poland

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2014, 14:72  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-14-72

Published: 4 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB) surgery can be associated with some intrinsic, but relatively rare complications. A pericardial effusion is a common finding after cardiac surgeries, but the prevalence of a cardiac tamponade does not exceed 2% and is less frequent after myocardial revascularization.

Authors believe that in our patient an injury of a nutritional pericardial or descending aorta vessel caused by the Lima stitch resulted in oozing bleeding, which gradually leaded to cardiac tamponade. The bleeding increased after introduction of double antiplatelet therapy and caused life-threatening hemodynamic destabilization. According to our knowledge it is the first report of such a complication after OPCAB.

Case presentation

We present a case of a 61-year old man, who underwent elective surgical myocardial revascularization on a beating heart. On the 11th postoperative day the patient was readmitted emergently to the intensive care unit for severe chest pain, dyspnoea and hypotension. Coronary angiographic control showed a patency of the bypass grafts and significant narrowing of circumflex artery, treated with angioplasty and stenting. The symptoms and hemodynamic instability exacerbated. A suspicion of dissection of the ascending aorta and para-aortic hematoma was stated on 16-slice cardiac computed tomography. The patient was referred to the Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic. Transthoracic echocardiography revealed cardiac tamponade. On transesophageal echocardiography there were no signs of the ascending aorta dissection, but a possible lesion of the descending aorta with para-aortic hematoma was visualized. Emergent rethoracotomy and cardiac tamponade decompression were performed. 12 days after intervention the control 64-slice computed tomography showed no lesions of the ascending or descending aorta. On one-year follow-up patient is in a good condition, the left ventricular function is preserved and there is no pathology in thoracic aorta on echocardiography.

Conclusions

Mechanical complications of surgical myocardial revascularization on a beating heart should be considered as a cause of the clinical and hemodynamic instability relatively early in the postoperative period. Echocardiographic examination must be the first step in diagnostics process in a patient after cardiac surgery.

Keywords:
Lima-stitch; Cardiac tamponade; Aortic dissection