Thrombus-in-Transit: A Case for a Multidisciplinary Hospital-Based Pulmonary Embolism System of Care

Academic Article


  • Background Venous thromboembolism, including pulmonary embolism (PE), is a common disease identified in the emergency department that carries significant morbidity and mortality. In its most severe form, PE is fulminant and characterized by cardiac arrest and death. Case Report In the midst of risk-stratifying PE by using echocardiography to assess right ventricular function, thrombus-in-transit (free-floating clot in the right atrium or ventricle) may be seen. We present a case of a 49-year-old man diagnosed with an acute saddle PE who was incidentally found to have a thrombus-in-transit and patent foramen ovale and required open thrombectomy. Identification of these additional potentially life-threatening features was possible only due to our availability of risk-stratification resources, specifically bedside echocardiography. Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This? Albeit rare, with a reported incidence estimated at 4%, the presence of thrombus-in-transit may change emergent clinical management. A multidisciplinary team of resources should be considered emergently as part of a hospital-based PE system of care.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pappas AJ; Knight SW; McLean KZ; Bork S; Kurz MC; Sawyer KN
  • Start Page

  • 298
  • End Page

  • 302
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 3