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September 17, 1973

Aseptic Thrombotic Endocardial VegetationsA Complication of Indwelling Pulmonary Artery Catheters

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, Letterman Army Medical Center, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1973;225(12):1525-1526. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220400051012

Serious complications of flow-directed, balloon-tipped pulmonary artery catheters are said to be uncommon. On reviewing the clinical records of patients coming to autopsy during the past 18 months in our hospital, we found 24 who had been treated with use of this catheter during their final hospitalization. In four instances aseptic thrombotic vegetative endocardial lesions had developed in areas exposed to the catheter. Four others demonstrated focal hemorrhages in the pulmonic valve cusps. Endocardial lesions associated with indwelling pulmonary artery catheters pose potential risks of embolization and infection.