Kerala woman dies days after angiogram leaves broken catheter lodged in heart

It was on June 3 that Bindu underwent an angiogram procedure at a private hospital in Mavelikara.
Alappuzha native Bindu
Alappuzha native Bindu
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A Kerala woman died days after a catheter broke during an angiogram procedure and was lodged in the left ventricle of her heart.

The woman, 55-year-old Bindu PJ, a resident of Chingoli in Alappuzha, died on June 30, despite an open heart surgery performed to remove the catheter.

It was on June 3 that Bindu underwent an angiogram procedure at a private hospital in Mavelikara. Angiogram, also called Cardiac Catheterization, is a procedure where a catheter is inserted into one’s wrist up to the heart to detect if there are problems like blocks in the heart valves.

According to family members, a part of the catheter broke and was lodged in the left ventricle, a condition which according to experts is rare and serious.

Though the woman was immediately shifted to a specialist hospital in Parumala and underwent an open heart surgery, the woman died three weeks after her discharge.

The family has now come out alleging that the woman died due to the medical accident. A case of unnatural death has been registered at Kareelakulangara police station.

“The angiogram procedure started by 11 am on June 3, but since there was no information even by 1.30 pm, the family went and enquired about Bindhu. It was only then that the hospital staff told that there had been an accident and that an equipment got stuck in the heart. They soon shifted her to another hospital and recovered the broken piece. On June 9 she was discharged as she got better,” says PG Santhakumar, a close relative of Bindu.

He adds that when the family went for a follow-up check up in the hospital on June 17, doctors said that the woman might need another surgery. “They gave some medicines. However, on June 30 night, she started to show discomfort and was taken to a nearby hospital, but the doctors declared dead,” Santhakumar says.

Meanwhile, the clinical review written by the cardiologist of the Mavelikara hospital where angiogram was held, has now come out. In the letter, the doctor writes, “During the procedure..the catheter got broken inside the artery. Tried to remove it after wiring it into the broken reached upto iliac artery, then again slipped and migrated into the left ventricle. Could not wire again into the catheter. It is hemodynamically stable.."

‘Rare, yet serious accident’

Talking to TNM, hospital authorities of the private hospital in Parumala where the woman underwent the open heart surgery, confirmed that the woman had come there with a ‘broken catheter’ lodged in her heart.

Though the doctors in the hospital refused to comment on the issue further, medical experts who talked to TNM, said that the incident was a very rare thing to have occurred.

According to a cardiologist, angiogram has a mortality risk of less than 0.1 percent and the chance of complication is also less that one percent. “There can also be hardware related issues, but these are very rare, but when they occur, it gets very dangerous,” said the doctor.

The woman’s post-mortem was conducted at the Government Medical College in Alappuzha. “Only after getting the post-mortem report and understanding the cause of death, further procedures can be done,” said officials of Kareelakulangara police station.

Watch animated video of Cardiac Catheterization: 

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