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Images in thorax
An unusual cause of pulmonary embolism
  1. M Bruyneel1,
  2. A Peeters1,
  3. P G Silance2,
  4. S Alard3,
  5. D Horn4
  1. 1Chest Service, CHU Saint Pierre, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, CHU Saint Pierre, Brussels, Belgium
  3. 3Department of Radiology, CHU Saint Pierre, Brussels, Belgium
  4. 4Vascular Surgery Service, CHU Saint Pierre, Brussels, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marie Bruyneel, Chest Service, CHU Saint-Pierre, Rue Haute, 322, Brussels 1000, Belgium; Marie_Bruyneel{at}

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Case report

A young patient presented with acute dyspnoea. Anamnesis revealed the loss of metallic guide wire (GW) during a jugular cannulation 4 years before. Consecutive bilateral pulmonary embolism (PE) was diagnosed by thoracic angio-CT that confirmed presence of GW in the vena cava and in the right atrium (figures 1 and 2). Tinzaparin was started. Two weeks later, right iliac veinotomy allowed finally extracting the GW after two unsuccessful transcutaneous attempts. Clinical course was favourable despite occurrence of supraventricular tachycardia, secondary to right atrium lesions. Loss of GW is extremely rare,1 and usually faster removed. Secondary PE has never been described previously.

Figure 1

Sagittal reconstruction obtained from CT angiography showing metallic guide wire from superior vena cava to right external iliac vena.

Figure 2

Transparietal cardiac echography showing the extremity of the guide wire (white arrow) and above, attached mobile thrombi in the right atrium.


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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. The provenance and peer review statement has been corrected.

  • Contributors AP, MB, PGS, DH have managed the patient. DH, SA, MB have prepared the manuscript and images and the final manuscript version was revised and approved by all the authors. MB is the guarantor and takes responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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