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November 7, 1977

Unusual Foreign Body Pathway to the Heart

JAMA. 1977;238(19):2016. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280200028009

To the Editor.—  A wide variety of foreign objects find their way into the tracheobronchial tree1 and the heart.2 Most are ingested, inhaled, or iatrogenically3,4 introduced. In this case, five delicate embroidery needles emigrated through the skin of the abdomen and chest, and two reached the pericardium and lung parenchyma. A review of the literature revealed one other case of a sewing needle self-introduced into the chest, resulting in traumatic pericarditis.5

Report of a Case.—  A 58-year-old woman had two very tender masses: one, 2×5 cm, was located between the clavicle and left breast near the axilla; a smaller ecchymotic mass was located 2 cm below the xiphoid process. She dated the onset to a fall backwards into a bathtub two weeks previously. Chest x-ray films disclosed the presence of five sewing needles, two associated with the lower mass and three with the upper (Fig 1