Controversy exists regarding the timing and technique of total correction of traumatic intracardiac lesions. Five patients with penetrating wounds of the heart received emergency treatment aimed at securing normal haemodynamics. No attempt was made to identify intracardiac lesions at this stage. Cineangiography two months to seven years later showed aorto-right ventricular fistulae in all patients, associated in two with aortic cusp laceration and in one with an aorto-left atrial fistula. The surgical approach for aorto-right ventricular fistula was through the right ventricle or aorta. Valvar injuries were treated by plastic reconstruction. All patients showed good clinical results when seen four to 11 years later. Traumatic intracardiac lesions in patients with stable haemodynamics after initial treatment should be operated on electively. The aortic approach is preferable for aorto-right ventricular fistulae. Conservative plastic repair of valvar injuries achieves long-term competence thus avoiding prosthetic replacement.
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