Aneurysm Of Heart

Aneurysm of the heart is a relatively serious condition that can be described as a bulge and convexity of cardiac wall, usually in the area of heart chamber. In this location heart wall is weakened and is more easily susceptible to sudden perforation with fatal consequences.

Causes

Ventricular aneurysm is a common complication of extensive myocardial infarction. By larger infarction, the damaged part of cardiac wall may loose its integrity and strength and because of continuous power of blood pressure it begins to bulge out.

Symptoms

These aneurysms are often asymptomatic but their complications may have very serious manifests. In the cavity of an aneurysm a blood clot may form. Such blood clot can break off and float out as a so-called embolus. It travels out of the heart through blood vessels to a distant organ where it obstructs small blood vessels (the typical result is an ischemic stroke when this happens in brain arteries). The second and perhaps more serious complication is a rupture of the weakened aneurysm wall and blood spillage into the pericardial sac. In such case the pericardium quickly fills with blood that prevents heart in pumping motion (so called cardiac tamponade). The heart acutely fails and affected person dies immediately.

Diagnosis

There may be a suspicion when finding some ECG changes (ST elevations mimicking acute myocardial infarction) but final and precise confirmation is proven by echocardiography when the aneurysm sac is directly seen. A large bulge of aneurysm can be also diagnosed from a change in the shape of a heart shadow on chest X-ray.

Treatment

Small aneurysms need to be regularly checked by echocardiography and the patient may be administered some anticoagulants to prevent a formation of blood clots in the aneurysm’s bulge. The only permanent solution of aneurysm treatment is a surgical removal. It must be however noted that it is a difficult and risky cardiac surgery during which the aneurysm is removed and the heart wall reconstructed.