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Is This a Satellite Orbiting Unchartered Territory?


A 27-year old female i.v. drug user presented to our institution with chest pain. She had a history of bicuspid aortic valve endocarditis with aortic root abscess repaired with bioprosthetic aortic valve replacement and pericardial patch reconstruction of the left ventricular outflow tract and non-coronary sinus 6 weeks previously.

Echocardiographic and cardiac CT imaging confirmed three foci of breakdown of the pericardial patch repair with active bleeding into a large posterior pseudoaneurysm (92 mm diameter) compressing the left atrium and pulmonary artery. Following multidisciplinary discussion, the consensus was to attempt urgent percutaneous closure of the defect, given the prohibitive surgical risks.

The procedure was performed under fluoroscopic and 3D-transoesophageal guidance. TOE demonstrated the pericardial patch breaches and active bleeding into the large pseudoaneurysm (Figs 1 and 2). Initial deployment of an Amplatzer atrial septal defect occluder resulted in significant flow reduction, but there remained two small peri-device leaks (Fig. 3).

During an attempt to implant an additional smaller Amplatzer vascular plug (AVP-2) to rectify this, the initial device dislodged and embolised into the pseudoaneurysm. This was felt irretrievable and unlikely to be clinically significant given its containment. The embolised device freely floated within the pseudoaneurysm, uniquely akin to a satellite orbiting in space (Video 1). The secondary device was removed and initial breach was satisfactorily closed with a 15-mm-sized Amplatzer atrial septal defect occluder (third device). This was confirmed to be well-seated on real-time 3D imaging (Video 2), with negligible residual leak on TOE (Fig. 4). This is the first published case of percutaneous cardiac device embolization into a pseudoaneurysm cavity that we are aware of.


This work did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sector.

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Correspondence to Handi Salim MBChB MRCP.

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Salim, H., Been, M., Hildick-Smith, D. et al. Is This a Satellite Orbiting Unchartered Territory?. Echo Res Pract 7, I1–I3 (2020).

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