A 48-year-old Italian man surprised his doctors when they discovered that a recent motorcycle accident completely rotated his heart within his body. When the emergency room doctors tried to find his heart beat, they found that they were coming from his right side rather than his left. An X-ray and CT scan (above) revealed how it rotated 90 degrees to the right.
The unusual thing about this case (despite its inherent unusualness), is that the rotation occurred minutes, or even an hour, after his accident, after air that leaked from his lungs built up within his chest cavity. This put large amounts of pressure on the heart, causing it to move from its normal position. In addition to broken ribs and a ruptured spleen, this shifting caused a drop in the man’s blood pressure and obstructed some of his blood vessels.
Finding a heart out of its normal space in the chest cavity is not unheard of, and is rather more common than might be thought. Besides the occasional birth defect, patients who have their right lung removed as part of cancer treatment can have a rotated heart due to the extra space in the chest area. This movement is possible because while arteries are attached to the spine and surrounding tissue, the heart itself floats freely.
What in interesting case.