Pneumopericardium suggesting left ventricular assist device-related gastrointestinal complication

We report an uncommon case of ventricular assist device-related infection and resultant fistula formation into the gastrointestinal tract. A 69-year-old man, who had undergone implantation of a HeartMate II 1  year earlier secondary to ischemic cardiomyopathy, presented to our hospital with a high fever. Computed tomography showed unusual gas collection around the heart apex (i.e., pneumopericardium), which had not been detected before. The patient developed sudden melena with fresh blood without abdomi nal symptoms 1 month after beginning antibiotic therapy. Emergent colonoscopy showed that the HeartMate II strain relief of the inflow conduit had penetrated the transverse colon. We immediately performed laparoscopy-assisted left-sided hemicolectomy and found intraoperatively that a fistula had fo rmed between the splenic flexure and the pericardial cavity. Subsequently, the HeartMate II system was totally explanted and replaced with an Impella 5.0 for alternative hemodynamic support. In our patient, pneumopericardium might have been an early sign of a hidden gastrointestinal complication. Ou r experience is a caution for clinicians who manage patients with ventricular assist device support via the apex.
Source: Journal of Artificial Organs - Category: Transplant Surgery Source Type: research

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