A case of simultaneous pulmonary embolism and acute myocardial infarction secondary to a previously undiagnosed patent foramen ovale
We describe a 79‐year‐old male with recurrent high‐grade liposarcoma who developed postoperative chest pain, dyspnea, and hypoxia suspicious for acute pulmonary embolism (PE). However, electrocardiogram (ECG) was suggestive of an acute ST‐elevation myocardial infarction (MI). Heparin was initiated and emergent coronary angiography was performed, which demonstrated a “cutoff sign” in the distal left anterior descending artery (LAD) consistent with coronary embolism. A patent foramen ovale (PFO) and bilateral pulmonary emboli were subsequently identified. It was concluded that the patient had suffered an acute PE, with a portion of clot traversing the PFO and entering the LAD, resulting in a simultaneous acute ST‐elevation MI. While the case described is rare, the underlying anatomical variant is common and may have practical significance. We discuss the literature regarding PFO with acute PE and paradoxical emboli. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2009;4:E5–E9. © 2009 Society of Hospital Medicine.