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Symptomatic congenital complete absence of the left pericardium. Case report and review of the literature

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 670-675 First published online: 1 July 1989


A fully documented case of complete absence of the left pericardium in a 44-year-old male is presented. Complaints of acute chest pain were caused by strangulation of the heart between the pulmonary ligament and the diaphragm. Preoperative electrocardiogram, chest X-ray and echocardiography showed 'classic' signs as described in the literature. A CAT scan suggested absence of the left pericardium, the definitive diagnosis was made with the aid of thoracoscopy. This case of total absence of the left pericardium is the first documented one requiring thoracic surgery. The defect was closed through a left-lateral thoractomy using an allograft of pig pericardium.

  • Left pericardium
  • surgical correction

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