By Toby Porter
A man has become the first in the UK to have a life-saving keyhole operation which avoids the need for open-heart surgery.
Jose Rodrigues, 57, from Wandsworth, was the first person to undergo the procedure at St Thomas’ Hospital at the end of July, in a procedure which has only been performed a handful of times in the world.
For some patients the major blood vessel near the heart can have an abnormal bulge where it is too risky to perform open heart surgery.
Until now, the surgery had to be performed via a keyhole incision through the groin – and through the neck to connect the tubes to the blood vessels of the brain and arms.
The team at St Thomas’ Hospital has refined their technique to do the procedure by keyhole surgery – without the need for any neck incision.
This type of aneurysm can expand and eventually rupture causing significant internal bleeding or death, if it is not treated.
Mr Rodrigues said: “I’m really glad to have been able to take advantage of this new type of surgery, and to be the first person in the UK to have it.
I’m still recovering, but already feel better after my operation.”
Only two centres in the UK – Guy’s and St Thomas’ and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – offer the old complex procedure, and now Guy’s and St Thomas’ has become the first centre to use the new approach.
Dr Madhusudan Puchakayala, consultant cardiac and vascular anaesthetist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “This new procedure avoids open heart surgery and its associated risks, as well as reducing a stay on the intensive care unit and any further complications.
It also allows for a faster recovery time, which helps patients return to their normal daily life.”
Said Abisi, consultant vascular and endovascular surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Thanks to the skill of our multi-disciplinary cardiovascular team, this is the first time in the UK it’s been possible to do this specialist procedure completely by keyhole surgery.
“This new method will have real benefits for patients such as Jose, and hopefully many others in the future.”
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