Ventricular aneurysm

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Left ventricular aneurysm
An ECG of a person with a left ventricular aneurysm. Note the ST elevation in the anterior leads.

Ventricular aneurysms are one of the many complications that may occur after a heart attack (myocardial infarction). They usually arise from a patch of weakened tissue in a ventricular wall, which swells into a bubble filled with blood. This, in turn, may block the passageways leading out of the heart, leading to severely constricted blood flow to the body. Ventricular aneurysms can be fatal. They are usually non-rupturing because they are lined by scar tissue.

Left ventricular aneurysm can be associated with ST elevation.[1]

Causes[edit]

Ventricular aneurysms are usually aftereffects of myocardial infarctions. When the heart muscle (cardiac muscle) partially dies during a heart attack, a layer of muscle may survive, and being severely weakened, start to become an aneurysm. The blood may flow into the surrounding dead muscle and inflate the weakened flap of muscle into a bubble.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Ventricular aneurysms usually grow at a very slow pace, but can still pose problems. Usually this type of aneurysm grows in the left ventricle. This bubble has the potential to block blood flow to the body, and thus limit the patient's stamina. In other cases, a similarly developed pseudoaneurysm "false aneurysm" may burst, sometimes resulting in death of the patient. Also, blood clots may form on the inside of ventricular aneurysms, and form embolisms. If these blood clots escape from the aneurysm, they will be moved in the circulation throughout the body. If these blood clots get stuck inside a blood vessel, they may cause ischemia in a limb, a painful condition that can lead to reduced movement and tissue death in the limb. Alternatively, if they block a vessel going to the brain, they can cause a stroke. In certain cases, ventricular aneurysm may cause ventricular failure or arrythmia. At this stage, treatment is necessary.

Investigations[edit]

Treatment[edit]

Treatment is limited to surgery (ventricular reduction) for this defect of the heart. However, surgery is not required in most cases but, limiting the patient's physical activity levels to lower the risk of making the aneurysm bigger is advised.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Victor F. Froelicher; Jonathan Myers (2006). Exercise and the heart. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 138–. ISBN 978-1-4160-0311-3. Retrieved 10 October 2010.