PMID: 8228102Jul 1, 1993Paper

Embolization of illicit needle fragments

The Journal of Emergency Medicine
M N KulaylatI Gutierrez


Complications encountered with retained or embolized foreign bodies (FB) are mainly reported in association with invasive intravascular monitoring or diagnostic devices. Retrieval of these large FB is recommended. On the other hand, the embolization of hypodermic needle fragments in the intravenous drug abuser is infrequently reported. The natural history and management of this complication is controversial. To date, only ten cases have been reported in the literature. We present a case of a hypodermic needle fragment that embolized to the lung from a forearm vein of an intravenous drug abuser. The embolization occurred during an attempt at removal of the needle fragment from the vein at the injection site. The needle fragment lodged in the lung parenchyma and was left in situ. No complications related to the needle occurred during a 10-month follow-up.


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