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Carotid free-floating thrombus in patients with acute ischaemic stroke and active cancer.

Practical Neurology 2024 April 5
In patients with ischaemic stroke, a carotid free-floating thrombus (CFFT) raises diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. We describe two women, each taking tamoxifen for invasive non-metastatic breast cancer, who developed large-vessel occlusion ischaemic strokes. The first had a CFFT 24 hours after receiving intravenous thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy; the thrombus completely resolved after 1 week of therapeutic anticoagulation. The second had a tandem occlusion with a CFFT at admission; her neurological deficits rapidly improved after intravenous thrombolysis without needing a mechanical thrombectomy. However, subsequently, under therapeutic anticoagulation, distal migration of the CFFT caused a recurrent large vessel occlusion ischaemic stroke, requiring mechanical thrombectomy. The CTFF in both cases appeared to relate to a cancer-related prothrombotic state. Both received long-term oral anticoagulation and their tamoxifen was switched to anastrozole. At 3 months, both were functionally independent without recurrent vascular events.

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