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Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2011 Aug;17(4):337-9. doi: 10.1177/1076029610363588. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Asymptomatic saddle pulmonary embolism: case report and literature review.

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Department of Internal Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac, MI 48341, USA.


Saddle pulmonary embolism is defined as a visible thromboembolus straddling the bifurcation of the main pulmonary artery trunk. Patient with saddle pulmonary embolism have a 2-week mortality of 5.8%. 46 years old, hypertensive male, presented with right leg swelling and pain, with no evidence of cardiopulmonary distress. CTA showed a large saddle pulmonary embolus. Doppler ultrasound of right lower extremity, revealed a large filling defect extending from the common femoral vein distally involving the deep femoral vein, femoral vein and popliteal vein on the right. Diagnosis of saddle embolus on its own is not associated with an unfavorable outcome, therefore should not influence management of PE. Echocardiography done within 48 hours in-patient with symptomatic saddle pulmonary embolism reveals mild to moderate right ventricular enlargement in 90% and mild to severe right ventricular dysfunction in 80%. Emerging evidence suggest that primary therapy with thrombolytics and embolectomy, should be used in PE patients who presents with hypotension plus moderate to severe right ventricular dysfunction on echo cardiogram. Patients with saddle pulmonary embolism can have normal cardiopulmonary reserve; these patients can be managed with conventional treatment for pulmonary embolism in hospital settings, in order to deal with any complications developed during management. Aggressive management should be reserved for patients who are hemodynamically unstable as well as those with echocardiographic evidence of severe right ventricular strain. Physicians should decrease their threshold for suspicion of pulmonary embolism in patients with deep venous thrombosis in the hope of revealing more and more hidden cases of pulmonary embolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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