PADUA, Italy, May 9 (UPI) -- Physicians in Italy say a 48-year-old man's heart rotated 90 degrees to the right within his body after a motorcycle crash.
Dr. Andrea Colli and Dr. Enrico Petranzan, both of the University of Padua in Italy, said the patient punctured a lung, broke ribs and ruptured the spleen.
In an article to the New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors said the motorcycle accident did not cause the man's heart to rotate and it most likely happened shortly after the crash.
A total-body CT scan indicated a rightward rotation of the pulmonary artery and aorta, rotation of connecting blood vessels.
The man's punctured lung caused air to disperse from the lungs and into the chest cavity and the air buildup and pressure pushed the heart to rotate within the chest. The blood vessels were repaired, the spleen removed and the ribs treated, the doctors said.
"After draining the air for 24 hours, the patient's heart moved leftward, back into its original position with complete anatomical and physiological recovery of the great vessels and other areas," the journal said.
"A follow-up echocardiogram and CT scan did not show the presence of any relevant anatomical disruption of the heart, vessel tears, heart-valve dysfunction, or impairment of cardiac contractility caused by the previous rotation of the heart."
The physicians said there appeared to be no permanent damage and the patient is expected to recover.