Posttraumatic and postoperative cardiac luxation: computed tomography findings in nine patients.
BACKGROUND: Posttraumatic and postoperative cardiac luxation represents a serious complication of pericardial rupture, and early diagnosis is important. The purpose of this study is to determine signs of left cardiac luxation on computed tomography (CT). METHODS: CT scans in nine patients with pericardial rupture and cardiac luxation after blunt chest trauma (n = 7) and postoperatively after extended left pneumectomy (n = 2) were reviewed for abnormalities. We analyzed the clinical history, clinical findings, and the imaging findings. RESULTS: Dislocation of the heart to the left and pneumopericardium were seen in nine patients. Five of these nine patients revealed "entrapment" of the left heart between the proximal ascending aorta and the descending aorta. All patients underwent a pneumopericardium. All patients with a history of trauma showed a left-sided pneumothorax but no pericardial effusion. CONCLUSIONS: CT plays a key role for early diagnosis of cardiac luxation. Dislodgment of the heart, entrapment of the left atrium and ventricle, and pneumopericardium associated with pneumothorax are the most important CT findings.