Radiological Case: Inferior Vena Cava Bullet Retrieval

Danesh Bansal, MD; Patrick Hussey, MD; Ignacio Chiong, MD


Appl Radiol. 2019;48(1):48D-48E. 

In This Article


Vascular bullet embolism is a rare complication of gunshot injuries associated with significant morbidity. Arterial involvement is far more common than venous. Bullets may lodge intravascularly and subsequently move freely throughout the vascular system, giving rise to such complications as embolization and ischemia. Treatment of arterial bullet emboli is operative management due to the increased risk of ischemia. However, management of venous bullets remains controversial, as a large portion are asymptomatic. Management should be decided on a case-by-case basis, balancing the risk of embolization against that of extraction.