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Logo of thijTexas Heart Institute JournalSee also Cardiovascular Diseases Journal in PMCSubscribeSubmissionsTHI Journal Website
Tex Heart Inst J. 2010; 37(3): 378–379.
PMCID: PMC2879210

Multiple Coronary–Cameral Fistulae

Raymond F. Stainback, MD, Section Editor
Department of Adult Cardiology, Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, 6624 Fannin St., Suite 2480, Houston, TX 77030

A 56-year-old man with no known cardiac risk factors presented with dyspnea upon exertion. The vital signs were normal. Echocardiography showed normal left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction and no valvular disease, but moderate LV hypertrophy and LV diastolic dysfunction were noted. Rest and stress myocardial perfusion scintigraphy showed a reversible inferior-wall perfusion defect; therefore, an initial diagnosis of coronary artery disease was made. Coronary arteriography showed no atherosclerotic lesions in the 3 major coronary arteries; however, all 3 arteries communicated with the LV cavity through many small, diffuse fistulae (Figs. 1 and and2),2), resulting in complete LV contrast opacification. The coronary sinus appeared to be of normal size. The inferior-wall ischemia that was shown on nuclear stress imaging was attributed to coronary steal phenomenon. The patient was placed on medical therapy.

figure 33FF1
Fig. 1 Selective coronary arteriography (30° right anterior oblique view; contrast agent, 6–8 mL iohexol) shows multiple fistulae arising from the distal left anterior descending and left circumflex coronary arteries and communicating ...
figure 33FF2
Fig. 2 Selective coronary arteriography (30° right anterior oblique view; contrast agent, 5–7 mL iohexol) shows a maze of fine vessels arising from the distal right coronary artery and communicating with the left ventricular cavity.


Coronary artery fistula is an abnormal direct connection between a coronary artery and either a cardiac chamber (coronary–cameral fistula) or a vein (coronary arteriovenous fistula). Coronary artery fistulae are observed at an incidence of 0.1%.1 Rarely, they may cause myocardial ischemia from coronary steal, heart failure, or spontaneous intrapericardial rupture. Sixty percent of these fistulae arise from the right coronary artery, and 90% terminate in the right side of the heart. Coronary–cameral fistulae from all 3 major coronary arteries into the LV is a rare observation.2,3

Coronary–cameral fistulae are often congenital, and they may be related to normally observed Thebesian veins that conduct postcapillary coronary artery blood flow into cardiac chambers. These are usually of no clinical significance and are not clinically apparent. Depending upon the size and location of the fistulae, epicardial and endocardial surgical ligation or percutaneous endoluminal procedures (embolization) may be performed in some cases. Intervention is difficult or impossible when the fistulae are diffuse. Therefore, despite the ischemia in our patient, intervention was not considered.4

Supplementary Material

Video for Fig. 1:
Video for Fig. 2:


Address for reprints: Selma Kenar Tiryakioglu, MD, Department of Cardiology, Bursa Acibadem Hospital, Sumer sok. No:1, 16110 Nilufer, Bursa, Turkey

E-mail: moc.nsm@ikayritamles


1. Yamanaka O, Hobbs RE. Coronary artery anomalies in 126,595 patients undergoing coronary arteriography. Cathet Cardiovasc Diagn 1990;21(1):28–40. [PubMed]
2. Iadanza A, del Pasqua A, Fineschi M, Pierli C. Three-vessel left-ventricular microfistulization syndrome: a rare case of angina. Int J Cardiol 2004;96(1):109–11. [PubMed]
3. Turker Y, Akcay S, Ozaydin M. E-page Original Images. An interesting case of coronary artery fistula: diagonal artery-, left circumflex artery- and right coronary artery to left ventricle fistulas [in Turkish]. Anadolu Kardiyol Derg 2008;8(2):E10-1. [PubMed]
4. Iyisoy A, Arslan Z, Ozmen N, Kursaklioglu H, Amasyali B, Demirtas E. Double coronary fistulas between coronary artery and left ventricle: a case report [in Turkish]. Gulhane Tip Dergisi 2003;45(2):203–5.

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