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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2011 Apr;41(4):450-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2010.11.004. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Thrombus in the non-aneurysmal, non-atherosclerotic descending thoracic aorta--an unusual source of arterial embolism.

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Klinik für Allgemein-, Visceral, Gefäß- und Thoraxchirurgie, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charite Campus Mitte, Berlin, Germany.



Mural thrombus of the thoracic aorta is a rare clinical finding in the absence of aneurysm or atherosclerosis.


The medical records of all patients diagnosed with a thrombus of a non-aneurysmatic and non-atherosclerotic descending thoracic aorta (NAADTA) and treated by the senior author between 04/1997 and 04/2010 were reviewed.


Eight patients with mural thrombus of the NAADTA were identified. Arterial embolism was the main clinical finding in all cases and involved the lower extremities (n = 6), mesenteric (n = 3) or renal arteries (n = 2). Hypercoagulable disorders were present in 3 cases and a concurrent malignancy in another 3. Two patients underwent open surgery while 4 patients were treated conservatively with anticoagulation. Of the remaining 2 patients, one was treated with a thoracic stent-graft and aorto-biiliac bypass and the other one with transfemoral thrombectomy. Technical success was achieved in all surgical cases and thrombus resolution or stable disease in the conservative management group. No thrombus recurrence was observed during a mean follow-up of 49 months.


The management of mural thrombus in NAADTA represents a challenge, especially in case of malignant disease or hypercoagulable disorder as a potential underlying pathology and should be individualized. Although no consensus exists in the literature, therapeutic anticoagulation is proposed as first-line therapy. The indication for surgical intervention results from contraindication to anticoagulation, mobile thrombus or recurrent embolism. Whenever possible, endovascular therapy should be preferred.

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