90. Case Report: Atrioesophageal Fistula (AEF) Formation after Pulmonary Vein Isolation – Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

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CardioNerds (Amit Goyal) joins Thomas Jefferson cardiology fellows (Jay Kloo, Preya Simlote and Sean Dikdan – host of the Med Lit Review podcast) for some amazing craft beer from Independence Beer Garden in Philadelphia! They discuss a fascinating case of atrioesophageal fistula (AEF) formation after pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). Dr. Daniel Frisch provides the E-CPR and program director Dr. Gregary Marhefka provides a message for applicants. Johns Hopkins internal medicine resident Colin Blumenthal with mentorship from University of Maryland cardiology fellow Karan Desai.  

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CardioNerds (Amit Goyal) joins Thomas Jefferson cardiology fellows (Jay Kloo, Preya Simlote and Sean Dikdan - host of the Med Lit Review podcast) for some amazing craft beer from Independence Beer Garden in Philadelphia! They discuss a fascinating case of atrioesophageal fistula (AEF) formation after pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). Dr. Daniel Frisch provides the E-CPR and program director Dr. Gregary Marhefka provides a message for applicants. Johns Hopkins internal medicine resident Colin Blumenthal with mentorship from University of Maryland cardiology fellow Karan Desai.
Episode graphic by Dr. Carine Hamo

The CardioNerds Cardiology Case Reports series shines light on the hidden curriculum of medical storytelling. We learn together while discussing fascinating cases in this fun, engaging, and educational format. Each episode ends with an “Expert CardioNerd Perspectives & Review” (E-CPR) for a nuanced teaching from a content expert. We truly believe that hearing about a patient is the singular theme that unifies everyone at every level, from the student to the professor emeritus.

We are teaming up with the ACC FIT Section to use the #CNCR episodes to showcase CV education across the country in the era of virtual recruitment. As part of the recruitment series, each episode features fellows from a given program discussing and teaching about an interesting case as well as sharing what makes their hearts flutter about their fellowship training. The case discussion is followed by both an E-CPR segment and a message from the program director.

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Patient Summary

A mid 60s male with relevant PMHx of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation presents to the ED with altered mental status after one week of mild chest pain. Given the long history of atrial fibrillation refractory to rate and rhythm control with diltiazem and flecainide, he underwent a pulmonary vein isolation 21 days prior to arrival. In the ED, T 39.4 and patient had a witnessed seizure requiring intubation for airway protection. Signs of hypoperfusion on labs, but white blood cell count not elevated. LP negative, but blood cultures positive for strep agalactiae. CT head with multiple tiny foci of intravascular air throughout the brain with MRI consistent with multiple areas of acute infarction. CTA of chest then obtained, which was notable for a small focus of air tracking along the esophagus. Taken together, findings most c/w atrial esophageal fistula causing sepsis and air emboli. Patient underwent surgical repair of left atrium and esophagus with a good outcome. 


Case Media

A. ECG: Normal sinus rhythm HR 105 bpm
B. CXR
C. CT head: Multiple tiny foci of air throughout bilateral cerebral hemispheres. Appearance is most suggestive of intravascular air, although it is unclear if it is venous, arterial or both.
D. MRI: 1. Restricted diffusion in bilateral cortical watershed zones, as well as in the posterior medial left cerebellar hemisphere, most consistent with recent infarctions.
E. CT Chest: A small focus of air tracking along the left mainstem bronchus anterior to the esophagus, may represent a small amount of pneumomediastinum versus air in an outpouching of the esophagus. No air tracking more cranially along the mediastinal soft tissues. No definite soft tissue defect in the esophagus.
F. Surgical repair of LA & Esophagus


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References

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90. Case Report: Atrioesophageal Fistula (AEF) Formation after Pulmonary Vein Isolation – Thomas Jefferson University Hospital