Incidence of catheter-associated right atrial thrombus detected by transthoracic echocardiogram

Jeffrey R. Clark, Steven C. Hoffman, Nathan A. Shlobin, Aakash Bavishi, Akhil Narang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: The development of right atrial (RA) thrombus (RAT) is a known complication of central venous catheter insertion (CVC). Deeper insertion of CVC within the RA may increase the risk for RAT development versus those placed at the superior vena cava (SVC)-RA junction. We sought to evaluate the incidence of catheter-associated RAT as detected by transthoracic echocardiograms (TTEs), characterize thrombi though multimodal imaging, and evaluate thrombi management with follow-up imaging. Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted of consecutive TTEs from our institution between October 1, 2018, and January 1, 2020, in which a venous catheter was visualized in the RA. Studies were reviewed in detail to determine the presence of suspected RAT. Demographic data, comorbidities, laboratory values, characteristics of the catheter and the thrombus, subsequent imaging and management, and outcomes were collected. Results: A total of 364 TTEs were performed in 290 patients with a venous catheter visualized in the RA. Of these 290 patients, 15 had an imaging suspicion for RAT yielding an incidence of 5.2%. Management strategies included anticoagulation in 13 (86.7%) patients and catheter removal in 11 (73.3%) patients. At eight months of follow-up, 11 (73.3%) patients had resolution of RAT based on subsequent imaging. Conclusion: In patients with deeply placed CVC catheters, the incidental detection of RAT by TTE was not trivial. Anticoagulation and catheter removal and replacement, if deemed safe, were effective methods of thrombus management. RAT as a complication of CVCs must be accounted for when addressing factors that influence depth of CVC insertion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-439
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • central venous catheter
  • echocardiography
  • thrombus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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