Surgical management of penetrating injuries to the coronary arteries

Surgery. 1975 Dec;78(6):755-60.


Among 76 patients with heart wounds treated over a 4 year period, nine had penetrating injuries to the coronary arteries with clinical presentations of pericardial tamponade, electrocardiographic abnormalities of bundle branch block or ST and T wave changes, and hemothorax. The right coronary artery was injured in two patients, the left anterior descending coronary artery in six patients, and the left circumflex coronary artery in one patient. All but one of these injured coronary arteries were treated by ligation. One patient with a proximal left anterior descending coronary artery transection presented with cardiac arrest and was managed successfully by emergency cardiopulmonary support and saphenous vein bypass with ligation of the transected ends of the artery. The only death occurred six days postoperatively in a patient with a right coronary artery laceration and was not related to the heart injury. No late symptomatic or hemodynamic sequelae have been noted among any of these patients. Principles of elective cardiac surgery are readily adaptable to the patient with a coronary artery injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteries / injuries
  • Coronary Vessels / injuries*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Injuries / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery