Neoplastic embolization to systemic and pulmonary arteries

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Abstract

Objective:

Arterial neoplastic emboli are uncommon, accounting for <1% of thromboemboli in the current literature. Nonetheless, this event may be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Herein, we report a series of 11 cases of arterial neoplastic emboli from a single tertiary care center along with a comprehensive review of the literature to date. The aim of this study was to document the incidence, clinical presentations, and complications of arterial neoplastic emboli as well as to highlight the importance of routine histologic examination of thrombectomy specimens.

Methods:

Pathology archives from a single tertiary care institution were queried to identify cases of surgically resected arterial emboli containing neoplasm (1998-2014). Histopathology was reviewed for confirmation of diagnosis. Patient demographics and oncologic history were abstracted from the medical record. Comprehensive literature review documented 332 patients in 275 reports (1930-2016).

Results:

Eleven patients (six men) with a median age of 63 years (interquartile range, 42-71 years) were identified through institutional archives. Embolism was the primary form of diagnosis in seven (64%) cases. Cardiac involvement (primary or metastasis) was present in more than half of the cohort. Comprehensive literature review revealed that pulmonary primaries were the most common anatomic origin of arterial neoplastic emboli, followed by gastrointestinal neoplasia. Cardiac involvement was present in 18% of patients, and sentinel identification of neoplasia occurred in 30% of cases. Postmortem evaluation was the primary means of diagnosis in 27%.

Conclusions:

This study highlights the importance of routine histopathologic evaluation of embolectomy specimens in patients with and without documented neoplasia.

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