Doctors Remove a Needle from a Teenager’s Heart in Strange New Case

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Image: Lynn Greyling (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)

For decades, doctors and medical health professionals have removed many different types of foreign objects from people’s bodies, many of which have entered the body directly through ingestion. In some cases, the object does not cause any problems but in others, it can lead to multiple complications and even life-threatening situations.

For instance, a strange new case of a young, seventeen years old teenager has been recently reported in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, where a team of doctors had to remove a sharp sewing needle from the heart.

According to the doctors, the teenager had been sent directly to the emergency room after experiencing several issues including extreme pain in the heart that also radiated to different parts of the body.

Upon being hospitalized, the patient immediately underwent a number of tests including an electrocardiogram (EKG) and common lab tests. The results of all tests showed that the patients had a very obvious heart injury. For example, blood testing showed raised levels of proteins which is often associated with heart abnormalities.

Initially, the doctors assumed that the patients had discovered a life-threatening condition known as ‘Perimyocarditis’. In this condition, the surrounding membranes and muscles of the heart are swollen and inflamed.

Perimyocarditis can easily worsen quickly if immediate medical help is not sought at the time. However, it was later realized that the case was not of Perimyocarditis. Instead, it was an even more complicated issue.

Further testing that included a CT scan of the heart and chest showed the presence of a “linear metallic foreign” in the heart of the teenager. In fact, the object was piercing out of the heart and was approximately 3.5 centimeters or 1.4 inches in length.

More precisely, the object was piercing out of the right ventricle, which is primarily associated with supply blood to the lungs in a normal person.

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What was the object and how did it get there? The teenager did not remember any instance of any physical injury through which the object can enter the heart or ingesting any food that could have had it.

However, he did recall sewing and tailoring his own clothes. Holding sewing needles and pins in the mouth during the process is a common practice. Apparently, the patient had swallowed the needles without realizing it.

After finding the exact cause of the radiating pain, the doctors performed open-heart surgery on the teen in order to remove the needle from his heart.

Dr. Bonnie Mathews, who is the assistant professor of pediatrics at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, and leading investigator of the case, explains that foreign objects in the body can migrate to different organs.

In this case, the doctors are sure that the needle went straight from the stomach of the patient to his heart.

At the moment, the patient has been reportedly recovering well and has not experienced any complications.

Although many objects in the body can cause no symptoms or complications, this specific case study shows otherwise. The findings of the new case add to medical literature on the removal of foreign objects and may also affect the current standard guidelines in the future.

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