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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Using a powerful magnet in a heart operation

When a patient's life is at stake, medical personnel can do anything, take any measure to save the life of the patient. Consider the case of a patient who suddenly finds himself in mortal danger because of a needle in their heart. While sleeping, this guy suddenly had a sharp sewing needle piercing his body and getting to the muscles around the heart, with the tip actually entering the heart. The danger was that if the needle got into the blood stream (it was only 4 cm long), it could move to other portions of the body, causing damage wherever it went (link to article):

Turning in his bed, he felt a sharp pinch on the left side of his chest. It was a needle that had pierced halfway into his heart. "I suddenly woke up and saw a small portion of the needle protruding from my chest. But as I bent forward to pull it out, the needle penetrated further in," said the Jammu resident.
With each contraction, the needle was sliding deep inside the heart. It is difficult to locate a thin 3-4 cm long needle in the huge chunk of muscles. We couldn't cut open the thick layer of muscles around the left ventricle, as it would have caused a lot of trauma to the heart. We decided to enter the heart through the usual procedure. We were lucky as the tip of the needle had pierced the wall of the left ventricle. When I peeped inside the valve in the left side of the heart, I could only see the tip of the needle," said Dr Mishra. As a major portion of the needle was still stuck in the muscles, Dr Mishra decided to use a magnet to pull the needle inside the valve. "We could get a grip on the tip of the needle with our surgical instruments. That is why, decided to use a magnet to pull it out slightly before extricating it," said Dr Mishra.

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