Successful innominate thromboembolectomy of a paradoxic embolus

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A 54 year-old man had symptoms of acute right hemispheric cerebral ischemia. He was initially considered for participation in a trial of early thrombolysis in stroke, but an innominate artery embolus was found with no apparent arterial source. The embolus was removed by means of a combined brachial and carotid bifurcation approach to protect the cerebral vasculature from embolic fragmentation during extraction. Further investigation revealed deep venous thrombosis, evidence of pulmonary emboli, and a patent foramen ovale, supporting a diagnosis of paradoxic embolus. Additional treatment included anticoagulation and placement of an inferior vena caval filter. The unusual condition of paradoxic embolus is reviewed, and the management of this patient is discussed.

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