A 56-year-old man was rushed to the operating table after a four-inch chunk of cement was discovered embedded in his heart.
The patient, who has not been named, had undergone unrelated surgery just five days before.
According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the man was suffering from an ‘intracardiac cement embolism,’ as a direct result of the previous procedure.
He underwent the initial round of treatment for a back fracture, going through a simple surgery known as kyphoplasty. This is where spinal injuries and severe back pain are treated with an injection of ‘special’ medical cement into the vertebrae.
While over 98% of patients are able to go home and recover within hours of surgery, this patient experienced extreme complications.
The injected cement leaked into the man’s system, eventually hardening into a 10cm-long spike and travelling 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 a shortness of breath.
He took a trip to the emergency room, where doctors identified the cause of his turmoil.
The piece of cement was discovered piercing his heart, which was puncturing his right lung at the same time. The patient was then rushed back to surgery in order for doctors 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.