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Emerg Radiol. 2011 Jun;18(3):257-61. doi: 10.1007/s10140-010-0923-6. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

Delayed levorotation of the heart in traumatic pericardial rupture.

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  • 1University of South Florida College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Traumatic pericardial rupture, with complicating cardiac herniation, is an extremely uncommon condition with a high mortality rate. We are reporting our experience with a case of blunt trauma to the chest, secondary to high-impact motor vehicle collision. The preoperative diagnosis of ascending aortic transection was made on subsequent imaging studies for which surgical repair was elected. Upon thoracotomy, a posterior pericardial tear was found to be associated with laterally displaced cardiac axis. Delayed levorotation of the cardiac axis in traumatic pericardial rupture is an uncommon finding and needs to be recognized in a timely manner.

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