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Chest. 2003 Aug;124(2):565-71.

Cardiac rupture complicating acute myocardial infarction in the direct percutaneous coronary intervention reperfusion era.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China.



Cardiac rupture, an uncommon yet catastrophic complication after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), has been studied primarily in the prethrombolytic and thrombolytic therapy eras but not in the direct percutaneous coronary intervention (d-PCI) reperfusion therapy era. The aim of this study was to delineate the incidence, potential risks, timing of occurrence, clinical features, and outcomes of cardiac rupture complicating AMI after d-PCI.


Between May 1993 and July 2002, a total of 1,250 patients with AMI underwent d-PCI in our hospital. Of these 1,250 patients studied, 12 patients (0.96%) had cardiac rupture (ventricular septal defect [VSD], three patients; left ventricular [LV] free wall rupture, nine patients] after d-PCI, with a mean (+/- SD) time of occurrence of 52.3 +/- 36.2 h. Three patients with VSD had an insidious presentation, and two of these patients (66.6%) survived after surgical intervention. However, nine patients with LV free wall rupture always presented with sudden and unanticipated hemodynamic collapse. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was uniformly unsuccessful in patients with LV free wall rupture, and all patients died as a result of this complication within minutes of its onset. The 30-day mortality rate was significantly higher in patients with cardiac rupture than in patients without this complication (83.3% vs 8.2%, respectively; p < 0.001). Univariate analysis demonstrated that the left anterior descending artery was the most likely to be totally occluded in patients who had developed cardiac rupture (100% vs 66.4%, respectively; p = 0.033). Multiple stepwise logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the most significant factors associated with cardiac rupture were advanced age, female gender, and lower body mass index (BMI; all p < 0.05), whereas early reperfusion with d-PCI was an independent determinant of preventing this complication (p < 0.0001).


Compared with the prethrombolytic era, our study showed that d-PCI had a favorable impact on reducing the incidence of cardiac rupture after AMI. Old age, female gender, lower BMI, and longer time to reperfusion carried a substantially increased risk of cardiac rupture after patients experienced AMIs. Early successful d-PCI was the most powerful determinant of the avoidance of this catastrophic complication after AMI.

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