Woman left needing open-heart surgery after birth control goes horribly wrong
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A woman now needs urgent open-heart surgery after a routine birth control procedure went horribly wrong.
Two years ago, the now 22-year-old from Melbourne went to her local health clinic to undergo a common birth control procedure, in which a 4cm plastic contraceptive implant rod (Implanon) was put into her arm.
However, not long after the appointment, Cloe Westerway started to suffer from heart palpitations, heavy bleeding and heartburn.
After revealing her symptoms, doctors decided to remove the rod from her body, only to find out that it was no longer there.
“I really liked the Implanon, as I’d had it before when I was 15 and had a good experience,” Cloe told news.com.au.
“I preferred it over the contraceptive pill. It reduced my period pain and the heaviness of them, and it also meant that I didn’t have to worry about forgetting a tablet.
“When I decided to get it done again, I wasn’t nervous at all. It seemed really safe and the clinic does them multiple times a day.
“I didn’t have any issues straight away, but then I was having severe nerve pain, heartburn, palpitations and vomiting.
“Looking back, I realise I never actually felt it into my arm, and you are meant to be able to feel it. So obviously, it was not implanted properly.
“Doctors couldn't figure out why I was so sick, so they decided to remove the Implanon but couldn’t find it.”
After various tests, doctors discovered that the rod had moved from her arm to her heart’s pulmonary arteries.
“After ten scans and blood work sent to the USA, the hospital finally found the rod lodged in my pulmonary artery, with the help of a fluoro X-ray,” she said.
“The doctors were absolutely shocked. They had no idea what to do or say, or how they were going to extract this.
“They told me it has never happened before. I was totally lost for words and absolutely terrified.”
Cloe now needs major open heart surgery to remove the rod.
“I will be starting with lung surgery, so they cut from the start of my breast to my back and try to pull apart my lungs,” she explained.
“However, it is a small space and a far distance, so I have been advised that I will most likely need open heart surgery as well if they cannot get it.
“The recovery will be very painful. I won’t be able to lift anything, or even get up by myself.”
Her surgery is scheduled for today (28 September) at Melbourne’s new Victorian Heart Hospital, with the recovery expected to last months.
A spokesperson for Organon Pro, the company that distributes Implanon in Australia, told the outlet: “Organon is a company dedicated to the health of women, and our first concern is always for the safety of our medicines and devices and the people who use them,” they said.
“We are confident in the research that supported the approval of IMPLANON NXT (etonogestrel) and its use in clinical practice around the world since its approval. As with all of our medicines and devices, we continually monitor the safety of IMPLANON NXT.
“In order to assist HCPs with the insertion and removal process, the Product Information for IMPLANON NXT contains instructions regarding the correct insertion and removal of the implant.
“Organon also supports clinical training programs for IMPLANON NXT for eligible health care providers to ensure that health care providers receive instruction and training on insertion and removal.
“If a patient feels that the implant has not been properly placed, or cannot feel the device in the arm, they should consult with their doctor immediately.”
Tyla has contacted Organon Pro for an additional comment.