Authors: Ying Tung Sia, Pierre Laurencelle
After coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), mesenteric ischemia is a rare but dreadful complication with high mortality rates. Prophylactic use of intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a common practice in patients with severe coronary artery disease awaiting CABG. During withdrawal of the IABP, there is a risk of dislodging atheromatous debris, thus causing peripheral and mesenteric emboli, which can cause mesenteric ischemia. Here we are reporting on a case where a patient had an IABP installed after a ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) while awaiting CABG surgery. After surgery, the IABP was eventually removed, but rising lactates led to further investigation. The abdominal computerized tomography (CT) scan showed extensive bowel pneumatosis and portal venous gas entrapment. The patient died despite aggressive non-surgical management. This case shows a fatal complication of IABP use in a high-risk patient undergoing CABG surgery and highlights the need for careful aorta and peripheral vascular assessment prior to IABP device insertion to avoid intestinal compromise.