GPHC conducts first successful aortic surgery

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The GPHC Team

The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has successfully conducted its first Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) surgery.

This high-ranking operation was performed on a female, and led by the General and Vascular Surgeon Dr. Carlos Martin and his team: Surgical Resident, Dr. Kapil Tiwari Surgical, Transplant and Vascular Surgeon, Dr. Kishore Persaud, Anesthesiologists Dr. Arturo Marrero, Dr. Yvette Martin and Dr. Youlanda Hendricks, Nurse Simone Henry (Anesthesia student), Dr. Maxine Parks and Scrub Nurse Shamin Leila.

Dr. Martin, who is also a lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Guyana (UG), described an aneurysm as an abnormal dilatation (swelling) of the body’s main blood vessel – the aorta, which transports blood from the heart to all other body parts.

Generally, arteries have strong and thick walls, but certain ailments within someone’s DNA can result in the arteries weakening, which causes the force of the blood to constantly push against the enfeebled walls triggering them to swell, and subsequently, an aneurysm.

According to Dr. Martin, AAA is present in about 1 to 5 percent of the population on autopsy. Most AAAs are asymptomatic (showing no symptoms), but can be detected through physical examination, with proactive repair being the best way to manage AAA.

“For an aneurysm, proactive care is highly needed, and thanks to teamwork and trust, we were able to effectively complete the surgery at GPHC,” Dr. Martin stated.

High blood pressure, blood vessel diseases, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) infection in the aorta and trauma are a number of factors than can contribute to the development of AAA.

Dr. Martin cited surgery as the only fix for AAA, and noted tobacco use, age (65 and older), being male, family history, being Caucasian, hypertension and connective tissue disorders as AAA risk factors.

“The patient volunteered to have this first big surgery done in Guyana. I really must thank her for the trust that she had in the organization. I think the key thing to this success was teamwork…She (the patient) was so forthcoming, willing and willing throughout the process,” the surgeon shared.

An aneurysm is a dilatation of an artery. In this case, the aorta measures approximately two centimeters in diameter but when it enlarges to more than three centimeters, it is considered an aneurysm. In many cases, patients suffering from the condition would usually detect it from an incidental finding.

This was the circumstance of the treated patient, who stumbled upon it after complaining of abdominal pain.

“That was the case with our patient. She had a little bit of abdominal pain. We did a CT scan and there it was, the aneurysm. The key to the management of an aneurysm is actually proactive care because if these aneurysms rupture, essentially there is a 90 to 95 per cent change of mortality,” Dr Martin cautioned.

The graft used in the surgery was acquired from a private source and can be made available for future operations.

Research has shown that healthy diets and exercising, avoiding tobacco products, and maintaining your blood pressure and cholesterol level can prevent AAA, or keep it from worsening.

GPHC’s Director of Medical and Professional Services, Dr. Fawcett Jeffrey, explained that the GPHC’s surgical department was very elated to support Dr. Martin and his team to ensure the successful completion of the surgery.

He also highlighted that the institution has significantly developed over the decades in the clinical and surgical management of its patients.

“GPHC has come a long way since in the 1980s. We have seen changes where patients were required to travel overseas for various surgeries that couldn’t have been done in Guyana. Now, we see the GPHC advancing massively in medical care and production, and I am very happy to be a part of this today,” Dr. Jeffrey emphasised.

He congratulated Dr. Navindranauth Ramberan, Head of the General Surgery Department at GPHC for his exquisite leadership in the surgical department, as well as the division’s administration.