Unusual Case of Surgical glue in Tracheobronchial Tree

This most unusual of cases was of a 48 year old man, who had undergone a cardiac surgery. Patient developed breathlessness after 48 hours of cardiac surgery. Cardiac surgeon ruled out any cardiac problem in the patient. Our opinion was taken, we decided to go in for a bronchoscopy (endoscopy of the airway) which revealed a mass in trachea. It was decided to take a biopsy (a small piece cut from the mass for the purpose of examination under the microscope) with laser assistance. While going in for the procedure, it was realised that this is a rubbery external object (foreign body), entering into the lower airway which was completely unexpected. It turned out to be a 5 cm long rubbery and sticky mass which was removed from tracheo-bronchial tree (lower airway). Obstruction was instantly relieved. Patient went home healthy.

This rubbery mass was solidified biological glue used for haemostasis (control of bleeding) during heart surgery, got absorbed into alveolar surface( lowermost part) of lung, expelled into tracheobronchial tree. This most rare and unexpected of complication of heart surgery was a learning experience both for us and the primary cardiac surgeon.