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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 834164, 5 pages
Case Report

Isolated Left Main Coronary Artery Stenosis after Thoracic Radiation Therapy: To Operate or Not to Operate

1Michigan State University, Department of Internal Medicine, B-301 Clinical Center, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2Michigan State University, Division of Cardiovascular Disease, B-208 Clinical Center, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Received 20 June 2013; Accepted 6 November 2013

Academic Editor: Bruno Megarbane

Copyright © 2013 Osama Alsara et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Radiation therapy of neoplasms involving the chest or mediastinum results in a wide spectrum of cardiac complications including coronary artery disease, which can present in patients with few or no traditional cardiac risk factors. We report a case of radiation induced coronary artery disease in a 60-year-old female with a history of stage IIIA nonsmall cell lung carcinoma which was diagnosed eight years earlier and treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She presented to the hospital with atypical chest pain that had occurred intermittently over the preceding week. Her initial electrocardiogram and cardiac enzymes were within normal limits. However, following an indeterminate exercise nuclear stress test, she developed chest pain and elevated cardiac enzymes. Coronary angiography demonstrated 90% stenosis of the left main coronary artery ostium, without any evidence of atherosclerotic disease or stenosis in other coronary arteries. She underwent surgical revascularization, which revealed dense adhesions surrounding the heart. During surgery, she developed severe bleeding and died. Coronary artery disease can present within years of radiation exposure, and ostial lesions are typical. Treatment is often challenging because of the effects of radiation on other tissues and the risks of revascularization procedures. Therefore, a multidisciplinary team approach should be considered.