Right atrial thrombus in an asymptomatic hemodialysis patient with malfunctioning catheter and patent foramen ovale
The creation of an accurate functioning arteriovenous fistula has been a long-lasting problem in the hemodialysis setting. In spite of recent guidelines and largely because of the old age of the current dialysis population and a high incidence of diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, and related vascular problems, it is not always possible to create an adequate fistula. In that case, long-term tunneled indwelling central vein catheters are a frequently used alternative. Of the many possible complications related to venous access in hemodialysis patients, catheter dysfunction is the most prevalent. We report a 23-year-old female hemodialysis patient in whom such malfunctioning was followed by echocardiography that revealed a large right atrial thrombus (RAT) in close contact to the tip of a long-term indwelling catheter in the presence of a patent foramen ovale. Although RAT is a rare complication in hemodialysis patients, it has very specific therapeutic implications. The present patient underwent a successful surgical atrial thrombectomy. Our experience underscores that in cases of malfunctioning catheter, echocardiographic screening is mandatory.
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