Floating intra-aortic thrombus presenting as distal arterial embolism
Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Floating thrombi in the aorta are a rare finding in the absence of any coagulation abnormality. They often represent a surgical emergency. Our case refers to a 45-year-old woman who presented with acute ischemia of the upper extremity. This was a result of peripheral embolism originating in a floating thrombus in the ascending aorta. A free-floating lesion held by a pedicle from the lateral ascending aortic wall was demonstrated using computed tomography and magnetic resonance scans. There was
... e scans. There was no pre-existing clotting abnormality. Conservative treatment with oral anticoagulation was not successful in removing the lesion. Therefore, a surgical approach was selected through a median sternotomy and cardiopulmonary bypass. Under temporary hypothermic circulatory arrest, the ascending aorta was opened. The lesion was removed along with a rim of aortic wall, circulation was re-established and the aorta was reconnected with use of a synthetic interposition graft. Postoperative course was uneventful. The patient was discharged on oral anticoagulation. Histopathology confirmed the lesion as thrombus. Only a few cases of intra-aortic thrombus without any coagulation abnormality basis are described in literature. Occasionally, they present as distal embolism. Treatment should be surgical excision on cardiopulmonary bypass, a procedure performed safely with excellent outcome.