Intracardiac foreign bodies: Diagnosis and management

Valeh Memmedov 1 * , Anar Emrah 1, Ziya Shahaliyev 1, Javid Ibrahimov 1
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1 Cardiovascular Surgery Department, Republican Diagnostical Center, Baku, Azerbaijan
* Corresponding Author
J CLIN MED KAZ, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp. 68-71.
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Introduction: As a result of gunshot wounds due to a bullet or shrapnel entering the system of arteries or veins, direct wounds of the heart or vascular structures, as well as embolisms may occur. After entering one of the systemic veins, the bullet or shrapnel can enter the right heart or the pulmonary artery. Shrapnel embolism is a rare condition, usually asymptomatic and is detected accidentally during routine examinations. Due to the fact that the intensity of occurrence of this type of cases is quite rare, it was decided to present such clinical cases.
Material and methods: This article reports about 3 patients with intracardiac foreign body. All 3 patients took part in the battles during the Second Karabakh War and were hospitalized as a result of shrapnel wounds received in different parts of the body. In each of the patients, the lesion area was different, but as a result of venous migration, the movement of a foreign body (metal fragment) in the heart cavity was noted. In two patients, the foreign body was removed by open surgery (connection to a heart-lung machine) due to the presence of symptoms, but one patient was under observation due to the absence of symptoms.
Results: Bullet or shrapnel embolism is a very rare complication of gunshot wounds, occurring in about 0.3% of cases. These emboli often cause antegrade migration into the arterial system. However, in about 20% of cases, migration into the venous system can also occur. Venous embolism often results in foreign body migration into the right heart or the pulmonary artery. The diagnosis in these cases is often established by chance, but in some cases, arrhythmias and valve defects can occur due to exposure to a foreign body. The identification of such cases depends on the symptoms. A foreign body can be removed by an open method, as well as by invasive methods. In some cases, it is possible to keep the foreign body under control when it does not cause any symptoms.
In the clinical cases we mentioned, we also mentioned the management of cases of foreign bodies entering the venous system from peripheral zones of penetration.


Memmedov V, Emrah A, Shahaliyev Z, Ibrahimov J. Intracardiac foreign bodies: Diagnosis and management. J CLIN MED KAZ. 2023;20(5):68-71.


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