Needle in the haystack purulent pericarditis from injection drug use

Johannes Steiner, Ravi Dhingra, James T. Devries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Central needle embolization is a rare complication of intravenous drug abuse which has only been reported on a handful of occasions. Previously reported cases of needle embolization to the heart have been managed conservatively (observation alone) or by surgical intervention. We report a case of purulent pericarditis without evidence of valvular vegetations resulting from an embolized, infected needle fragment. In the present case, the needle was successfully removed from the right ventricle percutaneously. This case illustrates the unique finding of purulent pericarditis due to a persistent foreign body in the right ventricle, and the nontraditional intervention performed for needle fragment removal which resulted in full clinical recovery of the patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-496
Number of pages4
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • foreign bodies
  • needles
  • pericarditis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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