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Fracture and cardiac migration of an implanted venous catheter.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, McLeod Medical Center, Florence, SC, USA.



Distal embolization of a fractured indwelling central catheter is a rare life-threatening complication. Interventional radiologic techniques are often successfully used to retrieve the fractured tip but in rare cases, a surgical intervention is needed.


We present a case in which radiologic methods failed to remove the embolized fragment because of multiple venous occlusions, and a cardiotomy was finally necessary.


After right atriotomy, the fractured embolized tip was successfully removed, as well as the proximal portion.


Implanted catheters should be removed after completion of treatment, or the integrity of the system should be monitored on a regular basis.

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