Iatrogenic Right Atrial Thrombus Complicated by Pulmonary Embolism: Management and Outcomes

Author Department

Internal Medicine; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Right atrial thrombus can originate from distal venous sources or can be iatrogenic secondary to placement of central venous catheters, atrial devices, or surgeries. One of the most common complications of central venous catheters (CVCs) is thromboembolism, which can be either fixed to the right atrium or can be free-floating. Device-related right atrial thrombosis (RAT) can result in catheter occlusion, vascular occlusion, infection, and pulmonary embolism. The true incidence of these complications is unknown because the diagnosis may not be considered in asymptomatic patients and might be missed by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). In this literature review, we discuss iatrogenic etiologies of RAT that is complicated by pulmonary embolism. We highlight the importance of maintaining a high index of suspicion of iatrogenic RAT, possible complications, and its management.

Keywords: Central venous catheters; iatrogenic; pulmonary embolism; right atrial thrombus; thromboembolism; transthoracic echocardiography.