After two days of chest pain and shortness of breath, a man went to the emergency room.
It's not an uncommon story. This man, however, had a 4-inch piece of cement piercing his heart and right lung, according to a report published Saturday in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine.
The 56-year-old man had undergone surgery of another kind, known as kyphoplasty, just a week before. The procedure treats injury to the spine by injecting a special type of cement into damaged vertebrae, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
That cement leaked into the man's system, hardened and traveled to his heart.
After doctors in the ER identified the chest pain was caused by a foreign object, the man was rushed to surgery. Surgeons removed the "sharp" piece of cement and repaired the damage to his heart, according to the report.
The report also said the man had "nearly recovered" a month after the surgery with no other complications.
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Leakage of cement into the body is a known but rare complication of kyphoplasty. Complications occur in less than 2% of cases caused by brittle bones, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Gabe Weininger, an author of the report, could not be immediately reached for comment.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cement found in man's heart following spinal surgery