Bullet and shrapnel embolism (BSE) is well described in the literature. Despite that, its rare occurrence creates a diagnostic challenge for providers tending to penetrating trauma victims. As with other forms of embolic phenomena, cases of BSE require a blend of superb clinical expertise and experience, as well as a high diagnostic index of suspicion. Management is highly individualized and spans a broad spectrum of options from “watchful waiting” to open heart surgery. Due to the risk of retained projectile migration through tissues, including erosion into surrounding anatomic structures, non-operative approaches warrant long-term clinical surveillance. When promptly recognized and treated appropriately, patients with BSE can be expected to have excellent clinical outcomes.
Part of the book: Embolic Disease