Published: 30th July 2021
Man from Kerala swallowed nib of a pen when he was a teen and got it removed from his lungs now at the age of thirty-two
After being infected by COVID, he opted for a CT scan of the chest that revealed the presence of a foreign body in the lower lobe of his right lung
After 18 years, Sooraj (32), finally got rid of the nib of a pen that he accidentally swallowed when he was in Class IX. The nib was found stuck in his lungs only recently, after he had spent years for asthma-related treatment.The incident took place back in 2003, when Sooraj, a resident of Kerala's Aluva, accidentally swallowed the nib, while he was trying to whistle with a pen.
"I had been suffering for the last 18 years due to severe shortness of breath and cough. I am relieved that finally, I don't have to suffer any more difficulties related to this," said Sooraj.
On the same day, he was rushed to a private hospital in Kochi where an X-ray was taken. However, the X-ray showed nothing unusual, and could not locate the presence of any foreign object inside his lungs. Later, the family assumed that the nib might have gone been egested from the stomach and worried no more. However, a few days later, the boy started to experience lung-related ailments, including chronic cough and shortness of breath. Thinking that it was due to asthma, he sought treatment at various hospitals. For the past 18 years, he has been under treatment for asthma.
Last December, Sooraj was infected with COVID-19 and his symptoms worsened. Due to persistent cough and breathing issues, he consulted Dr Aziz K S, pulmonologist with Apollo hospitals. A CT scan of the chest revealed the presence of the foreign body in the lower lobe of his right lung. For further treatment, he was referred to Amrita Hospital. Without conducting surgery the pen's nib was removed by doctors at Amrita. The pen's nib found trapped in the lower part of the right lung, was extracted through a procedure, conducted by a team of doctors led by Dr Tinku Joseph, Chief of Interventional Pulmonology along with Dr Thushara Madathil, Cardiac Anaesthesiologist.
The nib was removed through a relatively complex rigid bronchoscopic procedure. As it has been trapped in the lungs for the past 18 years, tissue build-up had occurred over it. The first and most arduous task was to remove the accumulated tissue. This was followed by rigid bronchoscopy. After being admitted under observation for a day, Sooraj returned home from the hospital on Thursday, breathing much more freely.
"The removal of the trapped part was made possible through rigid bronchoscopy instead of major surgery. If it had remained in the lung for any longer, then it would have led to complications, where removal of a part of the lung through surgery would have been the only option," said Dr Tinku. He added that symptoms such as shortness of breath and chronic cough may not always be due to asthma, but can occur also when minuscule objects get trapped inside the lungs.