Bilateral shotgun pellet pulmonary emboli

Bilateral shotgun pellet pulmonary emboli

Stephen B. Huebner, Sayed Ali


Intravascular migration of bullets and other foreign bodies is a rare but known complication of penetrating trauma.  Missile embolization can represent a diagnostic challenge because it may present in various and unexpected ways.  We present the case of a 54-year-old female who sustained shotgun pellet emboli to the pulmonary arteries following a left upper extremity gunshot wound and related vascular surgery.  The case illustrates bilateral embolization, and the embolic events occurred following surgery.  Embolization should be considered in evaluating patients with gunshot wounds, particularly if there are anomalous symptoms or the projectile is not found in the original, or expected, location.  Close attention to the location of the foreign bodies on serial radiographs may reveal the diagnosis of intravascular embolization.


Shotgun pellet; pulmonary emboli; intravascular; migration; surgery