May 1, 1976

A new approach to left heart decompression

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
R O Heimbecker, F N McKenzie


A simple, safe, indirect technique for decompression of the left heart is described. Pulmonary artery venting produces immediate and total decompression of the left heart through spontaneous retrograde pulmonary flow across the open mitral valve in the hypothermic (29 degrees C) electrically fibrillated heart. This allows free retrograde flow of left heart blood across the pulmonary valve into the right ventricle, where it is taken up by the usual caval cannulas. In 25 of 66 consecutive patients undergoing elective ventricular fibrillation and anoxic arrest, left heart venting was necessary as indicated by rising left heart pressures. Total cardiac decompression was immediately and completely achieved by this simple indirect technique. Direct left heart venting, with its associated risks and disadvantages, was never necessary, and we now consider it obsolete.

  • References2
  • Citations7


Mentioned in this Paper

Ventricular Fibrillation
Decompression Sickness
Mitral Valve
Right Ventricular Structure
Pulmonary Valve Structure
Cardiac Catheterization Procedures
Cardiac Surgery Procedures
Pulmonary Artery Structure

About this Paper

Related Feeds


Arrhythmias are abnormalities in heart rhythms, which can be either too fast or too slow. They can result from abnormalities of the initiation of an impulse or impulse conduction or a combination of both. Here is the latest research on arrhythmias.