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Kirschner Wire Embolization to the Heart*: An Unusual Cause of Pericardial Tamponade

James R. Goodsett, MD; Andrew C. Pahl, MD; Jeffrey N. Glaspy, MD; Marilyn M. Schapira, MD, MPH
Author and Funding Information

*From the Division of Educational Affairs, Department of Medicine (Drs. Goodsett and Pahl), and the Department of Emergency Medicine (Dr. Glaspy), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and from the Division of Primary Care PC–00, Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center, Milwaukee.



Chest. 1999;115(1):291-293. doi:10.1378/chest.115.1.291
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A 50-year-old man presented with an abrupt onset of sharp, pleuritic, right-sided chest pain. A chest radiograph revealed a metallic foreign body over the cardiac silhouette; a chest CT scan localized the object to within the wall of the right ventricle. The patient subsequently developed pericardial tamponade necessitating pericardiocentesis. A 25-mm-long Kirschner wire protruding through the wall of the right ventricle was removed via thoracotomy. Forty-two months previously, the patient had undergone open reduction and fixation of a left radius fracture with two Kirschner wires. Clinicians caring for patients with orthopedic wires in place should be aware of wire migration with cardiac embolization as a potential complication.

Abbreviations:V̇/Q̇ = ventilation perfusion

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