Left ventricular perforation with catheter decompression

Thoracostomy tube placement is one of the more common procedures performed in the Emergency Department, most commonly for treatment of pneumothorax or hemothorax but occasionally for drainage of empyema or pleural effusion. Thoracostomy may be a life-saving procedure with a wide range of complication rates reported, ranging from 19.4-37%, most commonly extrathoracic placement. Most recent meta-analyses showed a relatively stable complication rate of 19% over the past three decades with the vast majority being benign in nature. We present a case with the rare complication of thoracostomy in which of a small-caliber thoracostomy tube was placed in the left ventricle. Although thoracotomy was performed to remove the catheter, the patient remained virtually asymptomatic and had an uneventful course.

as reported in: Am J Emerg Med. 2019 Feb; 37(2): 377.e5-377.e6