Symptomatic pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE) is rare in neonates, and the diagnosis is often made only postmortem. The true incidence is probably underestimated because of its varying presentations, ranging from mild respiratory distress to acute right-heart failure and cardiovascular collapse. We report a sudden cardiorespiratory collapse on day 10 of life in a preterm neonate who was subsequently diagnosed as having a saddle pulmonary embolus. The patient underwent an emergency surgical embolectomy as a salvage procedure. Considering the potentially lethal complications of PTE, neonatologists and pediatricians should maintain a high degree of suspicion in infants with sudden inexplicable deterioration in cardiorespiratory status. Surgical removal of the thrombus is an invasive procedure and potentially carries a high mortality rate. Two term neonatal survivors of surgical intervention have been reported in the medical literature so far. However, we believe that this is the first documented preterm neonatal survivor after surgical intervention for a massive saddle PTE.
- Accepted January 26, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics