Floating right heart thrombi and pulmonary embolism: diagnosis, outcome and therapeutic management

Cardiology. 1996 Mar-Apr;87(2):169-74. doi: 10.1159/000177081.


The aim of this study was to analyze clinical and echographic findings and to assess therapeutic management in 14 floating right atrial thrombi diagnosed with systematic echocardiography in 200 consecutive patients with proven pulmonary embolism. Auscultatory findings were abnormal in 7 cases, 4 of them showing signs of tricuspid obstruction. Echocardiography displayed a mobile ovoid, polycyclic or worm-like right atrial mass, always associated with signs of cor pulmonale. Four patients (29%) died, 2 of them before any treatment could be started. Regarding the remaining 10 patients with favorable outcome, surgical embolectomy was carried out in 7. Our data suggest that echocardiographic examination is necessary in all suspected pulmonary embolisms and has to be done quickly for emergency treatment in patients with floating right atrial thrombus.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Echocardiography*
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Atria / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality
  • Pulmonary Embolism / surgery
  • Survival Rate
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Thrombosis / mortality
  • Thrombosis / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome