Postinfarct ventricular septal defects (VSDs) are a mechanical complication of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) with a very poor prognosis. They are estimated to occur in 0.2% of patients presenting with AMI, with 1-month survival of 6% without intervention. Guidelines recommend surgical repair, but recent advances in transcatheter technology, and bespoke device development, mean it is increasingly viable as a closure option. Surgical mortality is between 30% and 50% for all-comers, while in series of transcatheter closure, mortality was 32%. Transcatheter closure appears durable, with no evidence of late leaks and low long-term mortality in series with up to 5-year follow-up. Guidelines recommend early closure, which is likely to provide most benefit for patients regardless of the closure method. Multimodality cardiac imaging including echocardiography, CT and cardiac MRI can define size, shape, location of defects and their relationship to other cardiac structures, assisting with treatment decisions. Brief delay to allow stabilisation of the patient is appropriate, but untreated patients risk rapid deterioration. Mechanical circulatory support may be helpful, although the preferred modality is unclear. Transcatheter closure involves large bore venous access and the formation of an arteriovenous loop (under fluoroscopic and trans-oesophageal echocardiographic guidance) in order to facilitate deployment of the device in the defect and close the postinfarct VSD. Guidelines suggest transcatheter closure as an alternative to surgical repair in centres where appropriate expertise exists, but decisions for all patients with postinfarct VSD should be led by the multidisciplinary heart team.
- cardiac procedures and therapy
- interventional cardiology and endovascular procedures
- ventricular septal defect
- acute myocardial infarction
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Contributors All authors contributed to the drafting of the manuscript and approved the final contents.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
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Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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