Man Has Toothpick Removed From His Heart After Swallowing It

A man was said to have been millimetres from death after a toothpick had to be removed from his body.

Doctors had to operate on the man after a toothpick he had swallowed four years earlier, became lodged in his heart.

The man, known only as Zhou, had been struggling with his health for several years and spent a bunch of cash searching for answers to find out what was causing his regular lung inflammations and high fevers.

In total the twenty-something forked out more than 200,000 RMB (£22,790) on finding the truth and was treated for sepsis and even leukaemia as a result of the painful symptoms, but despite this he says they would still return.

Eventually, the young man from Nanning, the capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was told by specialists that a suspicious foreign object was stuck in the right atrium of his heart, and it was this which may very well have been causing the series of strange symptoms.

Zhou had spent years trying to find out what was causing his regular lung inflammations and high fevers. Credit: Asia Wire
Zhou had spent years trying to find out what was causing his regular lung inflammations and high fevers. Credit: Asia Wire

Last month, Wen Zhao, a doctor at People's Hospital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, along with his team rushed Zhou into the operating room and performed open-heart surgery on him, which lasted seven hours and 31 minutes.

And while inspecting his heart they came across the full-length wooden toothpick in his right chamber.

Doctor Wen said they didn't really know what they were looking for until they actually operated on Zhou.

He said: "It was a sudden discovery during the operation. All we knew was that his symptoms were likely linked to whatever foreign body was inside his heart."

The toothpick was lodged in Zhou's heart for four years. Credit: Asia Wire
The toothpick was lodged in Zhou's heart for four years. Credit: Asia Wire

According to reports, the operation was a success and Zhou was discharged yesterday following a period of successful recovery.

It was apparently later revealed that the potentially life-threatening accident most may have occurred when he was drinking some years earlier.

He said: "I'm 90 percent sure it's because I put a toothpick in my drink glass and swallowed it."

Zhou said he used to used to put toothpicks in his drinks so he knew which one was his - and that he had accidentally swallowed one and pulled it from his throat in the past.

Doctor Wen believes the toothpick he swallowed entered his right lung via his airway before piercing the wall of the organ and ending up in his right atrium.

Featured Image Credit: Asia Wire

Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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