Pneumopericardium suggesting left ventricular assist device-related gastrointestinal complication

Tomoki Ushijima, Yoshihisa Tanoue, Kazuto Hirayama, Akira Shiose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report an uncommon case of ventricular assist device-related infection and resultant fistula formation into the gastrointestinal tract. A 69-year-old man, who had undergone implantation of a HeartMate II 1 year earlier secondary to ischemic cardiomyopathy, presented to our hospital with a high fever. Computed tomography showed unusual gas collection around the heart apex (i.e., pneumopericardium), which had not been detected before. The patient developed sudden melena with fresh blood without abdominal symptoms 1 month after beginning antibiotic therapy. Emergent colonoscopy showed that the HeartMate II strain relief of the inflow conduit had penetrated the transverse colon. We immediately performed laparoscopy-assisted left-sided hemicolectomy and found intraoperatively that a fistula had formed between the splenic flexure and the pericardial cavity. Subsequently, the HeartMate II system was totally explanted and replaced with an Impella 5.0 for alternative hemodynamic support. In our patient, pneumopericardium might have been an early sign of a hidden gastrointestinal complication. Our experience is a caution for clinicians who manage patients with ventricular assist device support via the apex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-277
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Artificial Organs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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