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Hydrophilic polymers are used to coat catheters and other intravascular devices. In general, these polymers have many salutary properties; however, in some instances, fragmentation of hydrophilic polymers coating intravascular devices can occur with fatal consequences.

This report details the histopathologic changes in the lung seen following polymer fragmentation and embolization from a central venous catheter. Polymer emboli detected microscopically are intravascular and consist of basophilic, lamellated, and nonrefractile elements. Typically, an inflammatory response is present to a variable degree. Embolization can result in severe tissue injury with ischemia and infarction.


Rapkiewicz, A., Hood, B. and Hutchins, K. (2015) Fatal Case of Hydrophilic Polymer Emboli. Journal of Forensic Sciences. September 8th. .

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