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Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 May;95(5):e123-5. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.10.076.

Empyema thoracis due to intrapleural migration of retained vascular catheter.

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Department of Surgery, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26507, USA.


Intravascular retention and embolization of fragment of central venous catheters is a rare but well-documented complication of in-dwelling vascular access devices and ports. We describe the case of a 39-year-old male with fracture of the central venous catheter during removal of subcutaneous vascular access port. Over the next 3 years, the catheter fragment embolized through the pulmonary circulation and subsequently migrated into the left pleural space. He presented with empyema thoracis associated with thoracolumbar vertebral osteomyelitis. He required video-assisted thoracoscopy for retrieval of the catheter fragment, left lung decortication, and subsequent multilevel vertebral corpectomy and spine stabilization procedures.

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