Background: Left ventricular free wall rupture occurs in up to 10% of the in-hospital deaths following myocardial infarction. It is mainly associated with posterolateral myocardial infarction and its antemortem diagnosis is rarely made. Contrast echocardiography has been increasingly used for the evaluation of myocardial perfusion in patients with acute myocardial infarction, with important prognostic implications. In this case, we reported its use for the detection of a mechanical complication following myocardial infarction.
Case presentation: A 50-year-old man with acute myocardial infarction in the lateral wall underwent myocardial contrast echocardiography for the evaluation of myocardial perfusion in the third day post-infarction. A perfusion defect was detected in lateral and inferior walls as well as the presence of contrast extrusion from the left ventricular cavity into the myocardium, forming a serpiginous duct extending from the endocardium to the epicardial region of the lateral wall, without communication with the pericardial space. Magnetic resonance imaging confirmed the diagnosis of impending rupture of the left ventricular free wall. While waiting for cardiac surgery, patient presented with cardiogenic shock and died. Anatomopathological findings were consistent with acute myocardial infarction in the lateral wall and a left ventricular free wall rupture at the infarct site.
Conclusion: This case illustrates the early diagnosis of left ventricular free wall rupture by contrast echocardiography. Due to its ability to be performed at bedside this modality of imaging has the potential to identify this catastrophic condition in patients with acute myocardial infarction and help to treat these patients with emergent surgery.