Medical Miracle: Man survives rare ruptured heart

Hole in the wall of the heart is extremely rare and fatal in the majority of cases. Blood clots gushed out of the patient’s heart during surgery making the procedure a challenge

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(From left to right) Dr Mukesh Goel, Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgeon; Vinod Kumar, the patient; and Dr Mahesh Chandra Garg, Cardiologist.

New Delhi: The Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals granted a new lease of life to a 55-year-old accountant whose heart had ruptured inside his body, a fatal complication that rarely occurs, only in 1-2 percent of the patients of a cardiac arrest.

When Vinod Kumar fainted in his office on Christmas, he was rushed to Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. The doctors in the Emergency resuscitated Vinod and immediately put him on ventilatory support. His family informed doctors that he had been feeling weak and feverish for a couple of days.

During the operation, it was found that Vinod’s heart had sustained a wound causing blood loss and compression over the heart – a condition that can be fatal even before detection. The attending doctors immediately shifted him to operation theatre and mended his heart. Due to the possibility of sudden complications, such a delicate surgery needs expertise of the highest order to ensure the patient remains stable.

Hole in the wall of the heart is extremely rare and fatal in the majority of cases. Blood clots gushed out of the patient’s heart during surgery making the procedure a challenge.  

Dr Mukesh Goel, Sr Consultant, Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals said, “The echocardiography revealed much thick fluid had collected around his heart, compressing it, because of his precarious condition emergency operation was planned to excise the surrounding layer of the heart (pericardium) to evacuate this fluid. But during surgery, the moment the pericardium was opened, instead of thick pus-like material, blood clots gushed out in huge quantity and then fresh blood began gushing out with speed.”

Dr Goel added, “We deduced he had a wound somewhere in the heart. He was quickly put on the Heart-Lung machine, which takes over the heart and lung functions, facilitating cardiac surgery. The heart was inspected thoroughly and an inch-long wound found on the back of the left ventricle. It was a spontaneous rupture of the free wall of the left ventricle, which happens only in 1-2% heart attack patients. His heart was then arrested by injecting potassium and the wound repaired.”

Dr Mahesh Chandra Garg, Senior Consultant, Cardiology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals revealed, “He had no history of any cardiac ailment and the ECG ruled out heart attack as the cause of his condition. Since his blood pressure kept falling, high doses of medication were required to stabilise him.”

Dr Goel stated the incident highlights some important points, “Heart attack can manifest in multiple ways and even just feeling unwell should not be ignored, especially if one is above 40. Heart attack and cardiac diseases can be ruled out via a simple ECG and blood test. It is essential one visits a hospital well equipped to handle cardiac emergency 24/7, with the ready availability of experienced cardiologists and heart surgeons.”

Mr Ashok Bajpai, Managing Director, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals said, “The cardiac team at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi are among the country’s finest and I commend their work in this case. This is truly a landmark surgery that has given Mr Vinod Kumar a new lease of life. At Apollo, we don’t just treat heart disease, we reverse It. As Delhi’s prime hospital for preventive care, Apollo is committed to making Delhi healthier by catching problems early.”