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Playing Cupid, an Arrow Through the Heart

By Luc Puis

“How was your day, honey?”

“Well, I did something really stupid, and then I was extremely lucky to survive it…”

In a nutshell, this happened to a 54-year-old man in Canada when he was preparing his crossbow, used for hunting large animals. Due to reasons not described in detail in this article, the crossbow arrow entered the man’s chest in the third intercostal space, went through his left ventricle, entering between the left anterior descending and first diagonal branch, missed the base of a papillary muscle by just a few millimeters (echo showed no significant mitral regurgitation), exited the heart in between the posterior descending artery and posterior lateral branch, and came out of the body at the tenth intercostal space. 

Miraculously, he suffered no hemopericardium, hemothorax, or pneumothorax.

They put him on femoral cardiopulmonary bypass, and the arrow was cautiously and successfully removed. He was even extubated that same day.

The man was very grateful to the multidisciplinary team that rescued him and saved his life.

 Whether he could keep the arrow was not reported, but one thing we’re sure of is that no animals, large or small, were shot that day…

The case report was published in the Journal of Invasive Cardiology.

Apparently self-inflicted crossbow shot wounds aren’t that entirely uncommon. Examples (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT!!) can be found here, here, here and one guy in Russia even shot himself twice in the chest… Apparently in the latter case, doctors removed the man’s heart, repaired it, and put it back in place. The medical literature is raft with crossbow injuries, and one common feature is that it’s always men… Tsk, tsk, tsk…

One way to get your name on the Darwin Awards List


Hibino M et al. An Arrow Through the Heart. J Invasive Cardiol. 2022 May;34(5):E414-E415

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