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Conservative treatment of a left atrial intramural hematoma after left atrial thrombus resection and concomitant mitral valve replacement - case report
© Bruegger et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Received: 30 November 2010
Accepted: 13 April 2011
Published: 13 April 2011
Left atrial intramural hematoma is a seldom cause of left atrial mass. It has been described to occur spontaneously, after interventional procedures, after blunt chest trauma, or after aortocoronary bypass surgery. We present a case of mitral valve replacement together with the removal of a large intraatrial space-occupying lesion. Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography confirmed a successful resection of this mass. Surprisingly, upon admission to ICU, transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiography revealed a recurrence of an intramural lesion, closest matching a hematoma, which was confirmed by contrast-enhanced computed tomography. Surgical intervention was thoroughly discussed but a conservative management was favoured. 3 months after surgery, a reassessed transthoracic echocardiography and computed tomography demonstrated an almost complete resolution of the pre-existing hematoma.
Atrial intramural hematomas are severe but rare complications of cardiac surgery and only few cases are described in literature. We present a case of an unexpected intramural left atrial hematoma following mitral valve replacement and concomitant left atrial thrombus resection and the beneficial role of perioperative echocardiography in detecting and monitoring this event.
Additional file 1: Preoperative transesophageal echocardiogram demonstrating a voluminous intracavitary mass attached to the left atrial roof. (AVI 14 MB)
The patient received mitral valve replacement via left atriotomy with a biological prothesis (Perimount magna 27 mm; Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA, USA), extirpation of the intracavitary mass and ligation of the left atrial appendage. Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography revealed satisfactory valve function and confirmed the successful removal of the intracavitary lesion. Histopathological examination revealed a spherical mass which was subsequently confirmed to be a partially calcified and connective tissue-organized thrombus.
Additional file 2: Postoperative transthoracic echocardiogram showing development of an echogenic mass arising from the left atrial wall. (AVI 15 MB)
Additional file 4: Transthoracic echocardiogram three months following surgery revealing an almost complete resolution of the pre-existing hematoma. (AVI 15 MB)
Intramural left atrial hematomas are a very uncommon entity, but have been described to occur spontaneously [1–4], after aortocoronary bypass surgery , after percutaneous coronary interventions [6, 7], radiofrequency catheter ablations [8, 9] and after blunt chest trauma .
In our case, routine postoperative transesophageal echocardiography revealed an acute 5 cm diameter intramural hematoma in the left atrium, which could have remained undetected as our patient was asymptomatic. Pre-  and intraoperative  echocardiography of the heart is an indispensible examination for patients undergoing cardiac valve surgery. Whereas transthoracal echocardiography is less invasive and more convenient to the patient, several studies have demonstrated transesophageal echocardiography to be superior for assessing possible sources of cardiac embolism , such as intracardiac thrombi or intramural lesions . As in our case, latter can ensure a quick and accurate diagnosis in combination with a computed tomography.
Judging by the spontaneous regression, a conservative approach seemed justified, despite anticoagulation.
A conservative approach with close-meshed serial echocardiographic examinations in a hemodynamically stable and asymptomatic patient with a left atrial intramural hematoma seems to be an appropriate strategy. This case demonstrates the usefulness and necessity of perioperative echocardiographic imaging in the detection and monitoring of this unexpected event.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of this journal.
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