Penetrating wounds of the heart and great vessels : experience with 24 cases including 3 with intracardiac defects
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Twenty four cases of penetrating cardiac injuries due to stab wounds, which were seen over a 3 yr period, are reviewed. Ten patients were treated by aspiration alone because tamponade was mild, or because they were seen more than 12 hr after injury. One patient with multiple stab wounds in the ventricles and left atrium died during emergency thoracotomy in the admission room. The mortality rate of 4.2% is considerably lower than rates reported in other series. Two cases of traumatic ventricular septal defects, one case of traumatic aortic incompetence and sinus of Valsalva fistulae with rupture into the right ventricle and right atrium, and one case of ascending aorta innominate vein fistula are discussed. A plan of management is outlined.