About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Tattooing Could Prove Risky for Patients With Congenital Heart Disease

by Gopalan on November 10, 2007 at 6:59 PM
Font : A-A+

Tattooing Could Prove Risky for Patients With Congenital Heart Disease

Body art, tattooing all over, could be an alluring fad. But it carries significant risks for patients with congenital heart disease, UK doctors have warned. Even ear-piercing could prove problematic, they say.

In recent years, there have been several reports of people developing endocarditis and other serious infections after tattooing and body piercing, and infection has resulted in at least one death. Infective endocarditis occurs when bacteria or fungi attaches and begins to grow on the valves of the heart. If left untreated, it can lead to a fatal destruction of heart muscle.


Dr. Suhair O. Shebani from Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, and colleagues conducted a survey of 600 patients attending pediatric cardiology clinics and 69 pediatric cardiologists, some of whom were still treating adults with congenital heart disease.

Of the 486 heart patients surveyed, 87 (about 18 percent) had body art; 86 patients had piercings, and one had a tattoo. One of these individuals developed endocarditis after an ear piercing. The average age of the piercing group was 12 years, while the patient who got the tattoo was 15 years old.

Sixty-two percent of these young people (54 out of 78) were not aware that they should talk to their doctor before tattooing or piercing their body.

Among the 33 patients who sought advice about body art, 12 asked their heart doctor: 4 were advised against it, 6 were told to take sterile precautions, and 2 were told that there was no need for precautions.

Twenty-one patients sought advice from non-heart specialists: 5 were advised against body art, 8 were advised to take precautions, and 8 were told there was no need for precautions.

"While it is worrying that most patients in our group did not seek advice before having body art, it is of greater concern that those who did seek advice were given such widely varying recommendations," Shebani and colleagues write in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

They also find it troublesome that most of the pediatric heart doctors surveyed were not aware that tattooing could lead to an infection of the heart and most indicated that they did not routinely offer advice about body art.

"Body art in the form of tattoos and piercing has become increasingly popular amongst children and teenagers, and is nowadays more socially acceptable," the UK team notes in their report. "Better knowledge and education about the link between body art and endocarditis is required in order to provide guidelines for doctors and patients."

For the time being, Shebani and colleagues "strongly discourage all forms of body art." For those who cannot be dissuaded, they recommend antibiotics be given prior to tattooing or piercing, "with strong advice for prompt treatment of any signs of subsequent infection."

A recent study by the European Research Commission found that up to half of body piercings can lead to acute infection.

Source: Medindia

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines May Improve Mental Health
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cardiac Catheterization Heart Attack Air travel: To fly or not to fly Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Patent Ductus Arteriosus Congenital Heart Disease Silent Killer Diseases Heart Healthy Heart Statins 

Recommended Reading
Think Before You Tattoo
Delhi city, home to thousands of tattoo lovers, also witnesses many more who want that 'beloved' ......
Air travel: To fly or not to fly
Air travel is for everyone, even those with medical conditions....
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a radiological procedure for both diagnosis and treatment of heart condit...
Congenital Heart Disease
Heart diseases that are present at birth are called “ Congenital heart diseases”....
Heart Attack
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Heart disease is the lead...
Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a congenital defect of the heart where the fetal passage between pulmona...
Statins are new wonder drugs that are proving to be efficacious, not merely in relieving symptoms bu...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use