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Department of Medicine and Biological Science, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-15 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, JapanEducation and Research Center, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-15 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, Japan
We report a case of a 45-year-old woman with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) type IV, the vascular type, who presented with multiple coronary artery ruptures causing cardiac tamponade. She had sudden onset of chest pain soon after transarterial embolization for right carotid-cavernous fistula. Transthoracic echocardiography confirmed cardiac tamponade and hypokinetic inferolateral wall. Enhanced CT and transesophageal echocardiography ruled out aortic dissection. Coronary angiography showed contrast extravasation from multiple sites of the right coronary artery and left circumflex coronary artery. We suspected EDS type IV, and a skin biopsy for DNA and RNA analysis was done after taking written informed consent. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of the PCR product showed a heterozygous missense mutation of codon 85 in the COL3A1 gene, which converted glycine to aspartic acid, and thus a diagnosis of EDS type IV was established. To our best knowledge, this is the first case of EDS type IV causing multiple coronary artery ruptures.
Spontaneous coronary artery rupture (SCAR) is a rare cause of cardiac tamponade and cardiogenic shock with a high mortality. Computed tomography (CT) is useful to rule out the aortic dissection which often causes cardiac tamponade. At coronary angiography, a definitive diagnosis of SCAR can be made by the observation of extravasation of contrast material anywhere in the coronary arteries. In contrast to naturally occurring coronary artery rupture, which happens in conjunction with blunt chest trauma, atherosclerotic disease, aneurysm, localized infection, and iatrogenic complications of percutaneous coronary intervention, SCAR may occur in patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) type IV. EDS type IV, the vascular type, is a life-threatening autosomal dominantly inherited disorder of connective tissue, caused by mutation of the type III procollagen gene (COL3A1) [
]. Furthermore, multiple SCARs associating with myocardial infarction have not been reported. We report here the first case of multiple SCARs complicating myocardial infarction in a 45-year-old female with EDS type IV.
On May 25th in 2009, a 45-year-old woman was transferred to the emergency room from another hospital for suspected ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). She had sudden onset of chest pain soon after transarterial embolization for right carotid-cavernous fistula (CCF). Fifteen years before admission, she underwent transarterial embolization for left carotid-cavernous fistula (CCF). Since then, she had been regularly followed-up in out-patient clinic. On fourteen days before admission, she presented to the hospital with headache and tinnitus, and MRI revealed the right CCF. On May 25th, she underwent transarterial embolization for it. Although embolization was completed uneventfully, she developed chest pain in the recovery room when she became conscious after systemic anesthesia. ECG showed ST-segment elevation in II, III, aVF, and V4-V6 leads suggesting acute myocardial infarction. Then, she was transferred to the catheter laboratory in our hospital. She had no classical risk factors for coronary artery disease. There was no family history of cardiovascular disease or sudden death.
On admission to our hospital, her blood pressure was 65/41 mmHg. Her pulse was 115/min and regular, and her body temperature was 36.3 °C. Arterial blood gas evaluation on O2 2 l/min nasal showed pH 7.3; PaO2 161.1 mmHg; PaCo2 23.7 mmHg; HCO3− 14.1 mmol/l; BE −9.4. She had a tendency of easy bruising, thin and translucent skin, atrophic scars of both knees, and hypermobility of metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints of toes (data not shown).
An electrocardiogram (ECG) showed sinus tachycardia with ST-segment elevation in leads II, III, aVF, and V4–V6 suggesting acute inferolateral (MI) (Fig. 1A ). Total serum creatine kinase (CK) was 179 IU/l (reference range < 216 IU/l). Plasma troponin I was 4.71 ng/ml (reference range < 0.1 ng/ml). Transthoracic echocardiography confirmed cardiac tamponade and hypokinetic inferolateral wall. Computed tomography (CT) scanning with contrast agent (Fig. 1B) and transesophageal echocardiography ruled out aortic dissection. Stabilization was achieved with pericardiocentesis and blood transfusion. Surprisingly, coronary angiography (CAG) showed extravasation of contrast material from multiple sites in distal segments of the left circumflex artery (Fig. 2A) and right coronary artery (Fig. 2B). Vessels with ruptured sites were markedly spastic. Left ventriculography showed hypokinesis of inferolateral wall and no rupture of the ventricle.
Because blood oozing was barely detected by CAG performed at 30 min after the initial CAG, and because ECG showed that ST-segment almost returned to the baseline, we did not attempt to terminate bleeding at the ruptured sites. On the second hospital day, we confirmed no bleeding by CAG. The drain of pericardial cavity was removed uneventfully on the third day. Serum creatine kinase (CK) finally rose to a peak of 635 IU/l, and then returned to baseline within 3 days. The patient was discharged in good condition on the fifth day on calcium channel blocker and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor for secondary preventive medication.
Characteristic physical findings, thin and translucent skin, atrophic scars of both knees, and hypermobility (MTP) joints of toes, together with her clinical history of bilateral CCF, led us to the clinical diagnosis of vascular EDS. To confirm vascular EDS, a skin biopsy was performed. Informed consent was obtained from the patient for the DNA analysis before a skin biopsy.
To generate complementary DNA (cDNA), reverse transcription was performed using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) according to manufacturer's protocol. Sequencing of the PCR product including the 3.3 kb-pair of exons encoding the triple-helix domain of type III collagen was performed as previously described [
]. The results of the sequencing revealed a heterozygous missense mutation of codon 85 in the COL3A1 gene, which converts codon GGT for glycine to codon GAT for aspartic acid (Fig. 3A, B and C ), and thus a diagnosis of EDS type IV was established. To our best knowledge, this is the first case of EDS type IV causing multiple spontaneous coronary artery ruptures.
The estimated prevalence of the EDS varies between 1/10,000 and 1/25,000 with no ethnic predisposition, and EDS type IV accounts for approximately 5–10% of all EDS [
]. The clinical diagnosis of EDS type IV is made based on the finding of at least two of four clinical criteria: easy bruising, thin skin with visible veins, characteristic facial appearance, and rupture of arteries, uterus, or intestines, but biochemical and molecular studies are required for confirmation [
]. The systemic arteries, which are rich in type III procollagen, may undergo dissection, aneurysm, or rupture. An arterial rupture may be preceded by either an aneurysm, arteriovenous fistula, or a dissection, but may also occur spontaneously. The COL3A1 gene encodes 1467 amino acids, of which 1029 are located within the triple-helical domain consisting of the repetition of glycine-X-Y formation. The glycine is important for formation of the triple helix. Approximately two-thirds of published cases of EDS type IV with genetic analysis had the point mutations of glycine residues. The dissection or rupture site cannot be predicted and there seems to be no relation between location of the mutation in the COL3A1 gene and the type of manifestations [
]. In our case, sequence analysis revealed a heterozygous missense mutation in the COL3A1 gene, which converts the codon of GGT for glycine at amino acid position 85 to the codon of GAT for aspartic acid. This mutation has been reported but no detailed information about clinical manifestation was available [
]. Among arterial ruptures and dissection that have been documented so far in the patients with EDS type IV, spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) or SCAR are very rare compared with the dissection and rupture in other arteries such as aorta, renal, hepatic, and iliac arteries [
], and there have been no case reports of multiple SCAR. Thus, this is the first report of multiple SCARs confirmed by CAG. As is often the case with catastrophic disorders, SCAR might be underreported because an acute bleeding in the pericardium is often lethal and thus likely to be recognized. In addition, pre- or postoperative CAG failed to show local coronary pathology in most cases [
The trigger of multiple coronary artery ruptures remains speculative. Our patient underwent transarterial embolization for CCF via the femoral artery and the femoral vein before this admission. Given that our patient presented with acute MI, and CAG revealed the spastic coronary arteries, the most likely explanation would be that intraoperative emotional and hemodynamic stress may have caused vasospasms of multiple sites of coronary arteries, and the vasospasm may have induced tear of the friable arterial walls.
In conclusion, we report the first case of multiple SCARs with EDS type IV, in which acute MI and cardiac tamponade developed. When encountered with multiple ruptures of coronary arteries, cardiologists and emergency care physicians should pay attention to vascular fragility and suspect EDS type IV.
Clinical and genetic features of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type IV, the vascular type.