Intravenous Drug Abuse Resulting in Infected Retained Cardiac Needle Embolization and Septic Pulmonary Emboli

Keith Brown, Valentina Del Signore, Zainab Shahid, Stephen Daly


Intravenous drug abuse remains a significant health concern worldwide. Complications of intravenous drug use include transmission of infectious diseases, infective endocarditis, and localized infection. Central needle embolization of needle fragments from intravenous drug use is extremely rare and can result in life threatening complications. However, management of these patients poses a clinical dilemma for physicians when considering conservative versus surgical treatment. We present a case of a young male with a history of intravenous drug abuse who presented with fevers and shortness of breath and was found to have infective endocarditis and septic pulmonary emboli secondary to a retained needle fragment. Ultimately, a conservative management approach was decided after risk versus benefit analysis was completed.


Needle embolization; Intravenous drug abuse; Septic emboli; Endocarditis

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