Four patients with rupture of the interventricular septum after myocardial infarction are described. This condition carries a grave prognosis. Surgical repair of the septum is almost always urgently required if the left-to-right shunt is large (QP/WS > 3). Results are better if surgery can be deferred for six weeks to allow the infarcted area to heal and the tissues to be come firmer. This delay may be achieved by using a combination of agents to reduce afterload and to exert a positive inotropic effect. The timing of surgical intervention was an important factor in the survival of three of the four patients.
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