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Submassive pulmonary embolism with a right heart thrombus
  1. Winnie Yan,
  2. Ingrid Gunther,
  3. Ali Hafiz and
  4. Ronald Goldenberg
  1. Critical Care Medicine, NYU Langone Health, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Winnie Yan; winnie.yan{at}


A 49-year-old woman presented to the hospital with shortness of breath 2 weeks after a left total hip replacement. She was found to have a submassive pulmonary embolism (PE), with her case complicated by the detection of a large mobile clot in transit extending through a patent foramen ovale between the right and left atria. The presence of this free-floating right heart thrombus (FFRHT) increases her risks of stroke and mortality, yet the optimal approach to her treatment was unclear. Ultimately, intravenous tissue plasminogen activator was administered with resolution of the clot. Treatment was complicated by haemodynamically insignificant bleeding at the site of recent surgery. Herein, we further discuss the implications and treatment options for patients with an FFRHT in the setting of an acute PE.

  • venous thromboembolism
  • intensive care
  • medical management
  • pulmonary embolism

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  • Contributors WY performed analysis of data, wrote the paper, obtained patient consent and was involved with editing and reviewing of the paper. IG provided mentorship and was involved with editing and reviewing of the paper. AH collected data, and was involved with the editing and reviewing of this paper. RG was the attending of record and involved in the final editing and reviewing of this paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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