Hong Kong Journal of Emergency Medicine

Volume 10 Number 4, October 2003

Ventricular free wall rupture after myocardial infarction

F Lateef and N Nimbkar

Patients with their first myocardial infarction (MI), who present to the emergency department many hours after the onset of chest pain, who appear to be improving but suddenly develop new chest pain and unexpected hypotension (with or without signs of cardiac tamponade), should be suspected of having ventricular free wall rupture (VFWR). The mainstay of treatment is surgery. These patients may be managed with the administration of fluids, cautious use of inotropes and echocardiographic scanning, which should be performed on an emergent basis, while being prepared to be moved to the emergency surgical suite. However, at no cost should surgery be delayed. This paper reviews the current literature of VFWR after MI, a condition which remains difficult to diagnose, in many aspects, to this day. The review examines the historical background, incidence, postulated risk factors, clinical presentation, investigations and management. (Hong Kong j.emerg.med. 2003;10:238-246)

Keywords : Cardiac tamponade, cardiogenic shock, echocardiography, electrocardiography, post-infarction heart rupture

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