Primary aortic mural thrombus: Presentation and treatment

Tara L. Hahn, Michael C. Dalsing, Alan P. Sawchuk, Dolores F. Cikrit, Stephen G. Lalka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


The clinical presentation of patients with acute lower-limb ischemia and primary aortic thrombus prompted this review. Following recognition of the first case in early 1994, relevant patients (n = 6) were kept in a database and were reviewed for presentation, treatment, and follow-up. The median age was 41 and five patients were male. Angiography, computed tomography, and/or magnetic resonance angiography demonstrated one or more aortic sessile or pedunculated thrombus(i) without associated atherosclerotic disease. In two cases, a retropancreatic intraaortic mural thrombus was associated with severe pancreatitis. All other cases presented with acute lower-limb emboli requiring limb salvage embolectomy. Because of significant patient illness, systemic anticoagulation was chosen acutely to prevent recurrent emboli. Interestingly, serial studies demonstrated aortic thrombus resolution. Failure to continue warfarin therapy resulted in recurrent problems (n = 1) unless the instigating event had resolved (n = 3). There were no deaths or amputations. We concluded that surgical embolectomy, when required, with subsequent anticoagulation, results in limb salvage and allows for eventual resolution of the primary aortic thrombus. Long-term anticoagulation is required unless the etiologic process resolves. The literature describes patients with atherosclerosis and overlying thrombus but fails to describe the approach to patients with primary thrombus formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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