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15 October 2009
By Nikita Mishra
New Delhi, India

Scary prospect: Had the needle stayed longer in patient's heart, it could have damaged other organs too Scary prospect: Had the needle stayed longer in patient’s heart, it could have damaged other organs too
Doctors in New Delhi carried out a rather intricate surgery that required them to pull out a needle that had embedded itself into the heart of the patient.

A sewing needle had penetrated 24–year–old Prashant’s heart while he was sleeping.

The pateint’s brother, Ashwini Kumar said, “It was the most harrowing experience of our life. It was traumatic. We felt as if we were inside hot water and there was no help.”

For three full days the 4 cm long needle was inside Prashant’s heart. Doctors in Jammu did two chest surgeries but couldn’t locate the needle. It was then that the family came down to the capital’s Escorts Heart Institute.

In a medical first, doctors here perfomed an open heart surgery and even used a magnet to extricate the needle though the risk of complications was high.

An unsterlised needle can cause life–threatening infections. The needle was gradually sliding inside the heart with every pulse, so there were chances that it would be pumped out through an artery damaging any organ.

The longer the needle stayed in the heart, injury to the otherwise healthy heart muscle would be maximised, felt doctors.

In a bypass surgery that lasted over three and a half hours, Prashant’s heart was virtually stopped to avoid damage. Doctor’s put him on a heart and lung machine during the operation.

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