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Am J Med Sci. 2003 Sep;326(3):156-8.

Paradoxical arterial emboli causing acute limb ischemia in a patient with essential thrombocytosis.

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Department of Medicine, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.


Acute arterial occlusion can be the result of acute thrombosis or systemic embolism. Paradoxical embolism of a venous thrombosis through a right-to-left shunt is an important cause of acute limb ischemia. We describe a young patient with acute limb ischemia who was found to have multiple deep venous thromboses causing arterial embolization through a patent foramen ovale. Essential thrombocytosis was found to be the risk factor for venous thromboses in this patient. The patient was managed with embolectomy and anticoagulation along with chemotherapeutic cytoreduction of platelet count. This case illustrates the importance of considering the systemic embolism as a cause of acute arterial occlusion. The presence of a hypercoagulable status such as chronic myeloproliferative disorder does not eliminate the possibility of systemic embolism in the event of acute arterial occlusion. Patients presenting with acute limb ischemia should be evaluated for embolic sources. The presence of deep venous thrombosis in such a patient should prompt the evaluation for a patent foramen ovale.

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