The use of cardiopulmonary bypass in the extraction of intracardiac foreign bodies

  • Mohamed Mahmoud Mostafa Lecturer (consultant) of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Keywords: Cardiopulmonary bypass, Intracardiac foreign bodies, Retained bullets


Background:  Intracardiac foreign bodies (FBs) are uncommon and have diverse presentations. The objectives of this study were to assess the types and presentation of intracardiac FBs and to evaluate the use of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) in their extraction.  

Methods: A retrospective descriptive study was carried out on 12 patients with a history or radiological evidence of a foreign body in the heart or the great vessels who were admitted between 2013 and 2018. Sternotomy was performed in 8 patients and left anterior thoracotomy in 4 patients. CPB was used in 4 patients with cardioplegic cardiac arrest. Aorto-bicaval cannulation was performed in 3 patients and femero-femoral bypass in 1 patient.

Results: The mean age of our patients was 32.7 ±21.7 years (range 2-62 years), six were males. Six different intracardiac FBs were reported including retained bullets (n= 3), migrated catheter piece (n=3), sewing needles (n=3), displaced pacemaker lead (n= 1), circular saw (n=1) and missed pigtail catheter after pericardiocentesis (n=1). Recovery from cardiopulmonary bypass was smooth, and no hospital complications were reported. The mean duration of postoperative mechanical ventilation in all sternotomy patients was 7.8 ± 6.7 hours (5 ±2.1 in CPB patients and 10.7±8.9 in non- CPB). The duration of hospital stay in CPB cases vs. non-CPB was (5.5±1.3 vs. 5.7±0.9 days). No postoperative wound infection nor sternal dehiscence were reported. One baby who had lateral thoracotomy died on the fifth postoperative day because of severe gastroenteritis. No residual pericardial or pleural collection were reported in 6 months follow-up period.

Conclusions: Retrieval of intracardiac FBs can be performed safely with low morbidity and mortality. The use of CPB did not increase morbidity or mortality. Removal of all types of intracardiac FBs is recommended to avoid complications

How to Cite
Mostafa, M. M. (2019). The use of cardiopulmonary bypass in the extraction of intracardiac foreign bodies . The Egyptian Cardiothoracic Surgeon. Retrieved from
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