Article Abstract

Post-infarction ventricular septal rupture

Tirone E. David


Coronary reperfusion therapies have led to a reduction in the incidence of mechanical complications of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but the associated mortality of these complications has remained high. Ventricular septal rupture is the most common mechanical complication after myocardial infarction and occurs in approximately 0.21% with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and in 0.04% with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Surgery is the only definitive treatment but it is associated with high operative mortality and morbidity and, in some centers, alternative treatment with mechanical support of circulation and trans-catheter closure of the defect is being used. We continue to believe that immediate surgery offers the best opportunity for long-term survival. Patients should be taken directly to the operating room or via the heart catheterization laboratory if the coronary artery anatomy is unknown. This should be done as soon as the diagnosis is made, as acute rupture of the interventricular septum is a surgical emergency. The operative technique of infarct exclusion has been our preferred method and when performed in hemodynamically stable patients, the operative mortality is around 10%, although much higher in patients in cardiogenic shock. Patch dehiscence and persistent shunts are uncommon after closure of the defect using this technique. Delaying operative intervention in hemodynamically stable patients frequently leads to cardiogenic shock and multi-organ failure. Transcatheter closure of these acute septal lesions is complex, not necessarily feasible in all patients, and there is no evidence that the results are superior to surgery.