How Did a Patient End up With 4 Inches of Cement in His Heart?
Incredible as it may seem, a man ended up with four inches of cement in his heart because of a previous medical procedure, as reported in Science Times. This cylindrical foreign object was discovered by doctors in the inner regions of the man’s heart. It was surgically removed, and the patient is now well on the road to recovery, as stated in a WebMD article.
How Did a Piece of Cement Get Into the Patient’s Heart?
A week earlier, this 56-year-old man had undergone treatment for a compression fracture of a vertebra in his spine, a common condition for people with osteoporosis. The treatment he received is known as kyphoplasty. In this medical procedure, polymethyl methacrylate (bone cement) was injected into different areas of the damaged vertebra. The purpose of this treatment was to restore the form of the spine and to help prevent further damage. Apparently, the bone cement leaked into the patient’s body, hardened, and traveled to his heart as a complication of the spinal procedure.
How Was the Bone Cement Discovered?
After two days of chest pains and shortness of breath, the patient went to the ER. Imaging showed a foreign object in his heart, and the man was rushed into surgery. ER surgeons located and removed a sharp, thin, cylindrical piece of bone cement, which had pierced the upper right chamber of the heart and the right lung. Emergency room doctors surgically repaired the damage to the heart. The patient, who remains unnamed, is close to recovery, with no additional complications.
When is Bone Cement Typically Used In Medical Procedures?
Bone cement is widely used for implant fixation in several types of orthopedic and trauma surgeries. Joint replacement is common today, for the hip, knee, shoulder, or elbow. Bone cement has been the gold standard for joint replacement surgery. It acts as a space filler or “grout,” that creates a tight fit, holding the implant against the bone. Bone cement has no adhesive properties – instead, it relies on close mechanical interlock between the prosthetic and the irregular surface of the bone.
How Can Medical Provider Negligence Contribute to Patient Bone Cement Injuries?
As illustrated by the man with the piece of cement in his heart, there is a risk of complications with procedures involving bone cement. Risks include:
- Leakage: Bone cement can leak and travel to other areas of the body, as described above: When used in a medical procedure, it can leak into tissue, veins, and nerves surrounding the treatment area.
- Loosening: This can occur when the cement becomes fragmented or when the bond to the bone is disconnected. An implant can become loose and unstable. This can cause poor range of motion, swelling, and chronic pain. Revision surgery is needed to correct the problem.
- BCIS: Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome (BCIS) is a life-threatening condition. It can happen during a medical procedure, shortly after bone cement is applied at the surgical site. Bone marrow, fat, and bone cement enter the bloodstream, restricting blood flow in the arteries. BCIS can cause hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, blood clots, pulmonary vascular resistance, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, and death.
The manner in which bone cement is mixed and delivered to the patient is a key factor in reducing the risk of complications. A guidance document for use of bone cement, which warns of the risks and provides guidelines for usage to medical professions, has been published by the FDA.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you have suffered bone cement injuries and suspect medical negligence, contact Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free at (877) 433-3906. Our Denver medical malpractice attorneys have more than 40 years of experience. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve.