Doctors find four-inch piece of cement piercing man’s heart


  • After having a simple procedure for his spine a week earlier, a 56-year-old man went back to the hospital due to chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Doctors were able to remove a four-inch piece of cement piercing his heart and lungs.
  • The special type of cement inserted into his damaged vertebrae a week earlier, leaked, hardened and traveled to his heart. 

A 56-year-old man was rushed to the operating table after a four-inch piece of cement was discovered piercing his heart and lungs. The unidentified patient had undergone an unrelated surgery a week earlier.

According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine on October 2, the man was suffering from an ‘intracardiac cement embolism,’ as a result of the previous procedure.

He underwent a simple surgery called kyphoplasty for a back fracture. Kyphoplasty means injection of ‘special’ medical cement into the vertebrae for spinal injuries and severe back pain. More than 98% of patients are able to go home and recover within hours of surgery.

However, the injected cement leaked into the man’s system, eventually hardening into a four-inch long spike and traveling to his heart.

While leakage is a known complication of kyphoplasty and has been documented in the past, it’s also incredibly rare. Less than 2% of patients have been affected overall.

During his recovery time, the patient started experiencing a sudden onset of worrying symptoms. He complained of chest, shoulder and jaw pain, as well as shortness of breath.

The man was rushed back to the hospital.

The piece of cement was discovered piercing his heart, which was puncturing his right lung at the same time. Doctors had to perform emergency surgery to remove the foreign object and repair any damage caused.

Surgeons successfully extracted the cement without causing any permanent damage. The pierced organs were also repaired.

In the month since undergoing his second surgery, the patient thankfully hasn’t experienced any further complications. The New England Journal of Medicine states that he is managing to make a full recovery.

Source: USA Today

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