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Rare case of heart failure caused by compression of the left atrium by a thoracic aortic aneurysm
  1. N M Gandhi,
  2. M Greaves,
  3. N H Brooks
  1. Regional Cardiothoracic Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Nandkumar M Gandhi
    Regional Cardiothoracic Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital, Southmoor Road, Manchester M23 9LT, UK;


A 61 year old patient was found to have an aneurysm extending from the aortic root to the suprarenal region. He underwent first stage surgery with aortic root and arch replacement, prosthetic aortic valve replacement, and coronary artery bypass grafting. Four weeks later, he presented with breathlessness and signs of heart failure and pleural effusion. Computed tomography showed that the left atrium was compressed between the aortic aneurysm posteriorly and the left ventricle and sternum anteriorly. Obstruction of the superior vena cava, bronchus, oesophagus, and rarely right atrium by an aortic aneurysm has been described before but presentation with left atrial compression has not been reported.

  • thoracic aneurysm
  • heart failure
  • left atrial compression

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