19 June 2009

Body piercing hurts heart

People with certain heart disorders or defects may want to think twice before getting a body piercing, a new study advises.

People with certain heart disorders may want to think twice before getting a body piercing, a new study advises. Dr Hossein Akhondi and Dr Ali Rahimi at the Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah, USA encountered a 25-year-old man who became seriously ill soon after piercing his tongue.

Heart infection can be deadly
Writing in the August issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, the researchers reported that the man had a heart defect known as congenital aortic stenosis, a condition in which the heart's aorta valve is abnormally narrow.

People with this type of heart defect usually take antibiotics whenever they have surgery or dental work, to prevent any life-threatening bacterial infection entering the blood and reaching the heart.

Body piercing poses the same risk
Although the man usually took antibiotics before visiting the dentist, he did not take antibiotics prior to the piercing. Two months after his tongue was pierced, he was hospitalised with fever, chills and shortness of breath, the researchers report.

Blood tests revealed that his heart was infected with a type of mouth bacteria known as H. aphrophilus. The tongue stud tested positive for the same bacteria.

The man was treated with antibiotics and recovered, but the researchers recommend more study of the subject and suggest that people with structural heart diseases take antibiotics before they get a body piercing. – (Health24)


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.