Primary pulmonary thrombus in combat casualties: Is treatment necessary?

Matthew J. Bradley*, Dean E. Baird, Paul G. Peterson, Michael D. Baird, Eric A. Elster, Carlos J. Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to describe the natural history of primary pulmonary thrombus (PPT) in combat casualties. This was a retrospective study of casualties treated at a major military treatment facility from 2010 to 2012. Patients with a downrange chest CT were included. CTs were reviewed by two independent, blinded radiologists to confirm PPT on initial imaging. Follow-up CTs, if obtained, were also independently reviewed to determine the extent of clot burden. Two hundred and forty-nine casualties with a downrange, acceptable quality chest CT were included. 9 per cent (23/249) of patients sustained PPT. Thirty nine per cent (9/23) were initially treated with therapeutic anticoagulation (AC). Conversely, 61 per cent (14/23) arrived to our military treatment facility without AC. Seven arriving without AC-developed pulmonary symptoms during their hospitalization and had interval chest CTs. Of those, three had no evidence of pulmonary thrombus. The other four had subsegmental filling defects and three were started AC whereas one had an IVC (Inferior Vena Cava) filter inserted. In total, 11/23 (48%) PPT patients were managed without AC and discharged without complications. This is the first study attempting to look at PPT natural history. There were no adverse sequelae from managing PPT without AC. Further studies are warranted to further characterize PPT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-915
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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