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BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Jan 9;2015. pii: bcr2014205307. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-205307.

Fracture, inflation and floatation embolisation of PTCA balloon.

Author information

Waterford Regional Hospital, Waterford, Ireland.
Department of Cardiology, Waterford Regional Hospital, Waterford, Ireland.


This case outlines an unusual complication of coronary intervention, the likely mechanisms leading to this and possible retrieval options. It is the first case to the best of our knowledge reporting this complication. A 78-year-old Caucasian man underwent coronary stenting. During the procedure kinking and subsequent fracture of a non-compliant percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) balloon occurred. Injection of contrast down the guide to opacify the coronary arteries resulted in 'inflation' of the balloon with air, and embolisation of the inflated balloon into the proximal left anterior descending artery. The embolised balloon was retrieved by removal of the guide catheter and wire as a unit. The patient had a good angiographic outcome. This case highlights risks associated with usage of kinked balloons catheters, and describes for the first time to our knowledge, the inflation of a PTCA balloon with air from its shaft within the catheter, causing 'floatation' embolisation into the coronary artery.

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