How does human body deal with inert solid material in the bloodstream? For example, if there is a powder of glass injected into our bloodstream, will the white blood cells do anything or will kidney excrete these materials? Thanks.

  • $\begingroup$ I once read a crime story (fictional), where injecting solid material like glass powder into the bloodstream was used as a means of deliberately murdering the patient :-). That would imply, that the body would not deal with such a condition very well. My mother is a medical doctor, read the same story, and did not say it was nonsense, recommended the book. $\endgroup$ – Barbara Jan 26 '14 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ in some cases it will form scar tissue around it and even try to expel it by moving through the tissue. in many cases it won't actually go anywhere, but form lump in the tissue. $\endgroup$ – shigeta Jan 26 '14 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ As @shigeta points out, it would matter where the insult occurs and also what "inert" real means. Glass could easily not be inert, and even if it were, you could easily kill someone with fine glass in a central line, just from the damage that would produce. You want to look into inert foreign bodies. $\endgroup$ – Atl LED Jan 28 '14 at 3:48

Non-opsonized particles (Particles that can't be coated with opsonins like antibodies or complement proteins) can be engulfed by macrophages which could end up, for example, in the lung secretions and be coughed up one day. Note that a cell can only engulf a particle so large, so you'll not feel yourself coughing up anything out of the ordinary. Only tiny particles can be dealt with like this. Bigger particles can become trapped in fine vasculature (small veins; venules, and small arteries;arterioles). This can lead to abscess formation necessitating amputation of the affected limb.

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  • $\begingroup$ It will not lead to abscess formation (that's a bacterial problem), but will lead to ischemia. Remember, most likely it will be injected into the venous side, which gets progressively larger until the pulmonary system is reached, so obstruction can occur in arterioles and capillaries of the lung. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Sep 7 '17 at 14:41

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