The patient was taken to the hospital in an emergency situation where he was immediately put on a ventilator for survival. A critical surgery was undertaken where the patient survived

When 64-year-old Omprakash Goenka was rushed to Asian Heart Institute last month, he could not breathe and was on a ventilator. His medical diagnosis revealed that the main artery in his heart (aorta) had swollen to thrice its standard size. As a result, it was pressing on his breathing pipe.

The swelling was so massive that while travelling from his home to Mumbai for his treatment, he developed severe breathlessness and was in a critical state.

‘When this patient was brought to the hospital, he was in a serious condition and needed to undergo heart surgery on an emergency basis. His main heart artery had developed a massive aneurysm (a bulge-like appearance in a blood vessel). This is caused due to the weakness in the blood vessel wall, which was larger than a tennis ball. It was so big that it had dangerously narrowed his breathing pipe and had completely blocked one of the main veins of the heart, which brings blood from the left side of the brain and the left hand,” said renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and vice chairman of Asian Heart Institute Dr Ramakanta Panda.

“We had to operate on this patient on an emergency basis. Any further delay would have resulted in his heart artery rupturing, leading to death,” added Dr Panda.

The Surgery Proceedings

In an 11 hour 40 minute long surgery, doctors performed a complicated heart surgery using a beating heart technique — this involved re-routing of the brain and hand blood supply (debranching). Doctors put four bypass grafts (right hand, left hand, the right side of the brain, left side of mind) and one stent was placed into his aorta to exclude the large aneurysm from regular blood circulation.

“This was an extremely complex surgery because if the blood supply to the brain is obstructed for more than 3 minutes, it can cause irreversible damage,” said Dr Panda.

Even though immediately after surgery, the aneurysm was tackled, the narrowing caused by the aneurysm; though reduced by 25%; had not completely relieved the breathing of the patient. Doctors also had to do a tracheostomy procedure on Goenka to help him breathe easy. This procedure involves making of a hole, which goes into your trachea, or windpipe from the front of the neck. Further, a breathing tube is placed in the throat for proper breathing activity.

Post-Surgery Relief

Post the procedure, Goenka was stable, said, doctors. He was taken off the ventilator, and within a week, he received about 70 per cent relief to his swelling. Subsequently, his breathing pipe was removed, and he is expected to be discharged within 48 hours.

Following are some important tips to be followed after a heart surgery: 

  • You may have a poor appetite for a few weeks. Give your body the time to recover
  • Avoid excess of physical activities
  • You may experience weakness for the first few months after the surgery
  • Do breathing exercise to work on the short breath
  • Take your medicines timely

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