Left main trunk coronary artery dissection as a consequence of inaccurate coronary computed tomographic angiography

Arch Intern Med. 2011 Apr 11;171(7):698-701. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.464. Epub 2010 Dec 13.


A 52-year-old woman presented to a community hospital with atypical chest pain. Her low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels were not elevated. She underwent cardiac computed tomography angiography, which showed both calcified and noncalcified coronary plaques in several locations. Her physicians subsequently performed coronary angiography, which was complicated by dissection of the left main coronary artery, requiring emergency coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Her subsequent clinical course was complicated, but eventually she required orthotopic heart transplantation for refractory heart failure. This case illustrates the hazards of the inappropriate use of cardiac computed tomography angiography in low-risk patients and emphasizes the need for restraint in applying this new technology to the evaluation of patients with atypical chest pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects
  • Coronary Vessels / injuries*
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / adverse effects