Chiari network: a protective filter against pulmonary embolism in a case of polycythaemia
- Correspondence to Professor John Somauroo,
The Chiari network, a net-like structure within the right atrium, has been described as an embryonic remnant of no clinical significance. Its role in facilitating paradoxical arterial embolic events and as a potential site for thrombus formation however, has been reported in the literature. This case illustrates the protective filter-effect of the Chiari network in a 79-year-old Caucasian man with an unknown diagnosis of polycythaemia rubra vera who presented with clinical signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. Transoesophageal echocardiogram confirmed entrapment of a thrombus within the Chiari network, which was not visualised following treatment on repeat scanning 1 month later. Here the authors describe how the Chiari network may have prevented the occurrence of a fatal massive pulmonary embolism in a patient with a high pro-thrombotic tendency, and review the current literature regarding the action of this anatomic variant as risk factor or protector.
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.