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Pioneering "blood balloon" removal op saves Coventry man

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Pioneering "blood balloon" removal op saves Coventry man

Reprinted from Country Telegraph .net

A RETIRED aircraft worker has become the first patient to have a dangerous “blood balloon” removed from near his kidneys at University Hospital in Coventry.

James Ahearne had a tube or stent, which was tailor-made for him in Australia, inserted into his abdomen during a five-hour operation.

The surgery was more complicated because Mr Ahearne is a Jehovah’s Witness and his beliefs do not allow him to have a blood transfusion.

So surgeons went in via an artery in his groin to fit the stent to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding.

The 62 year-old said: “I knew the operation had to happen because otherwise I could die.

“I realised how unusual it was when they were talking about designing the stent because it would be very complex to line it up with the different arteries.”

Mr Ahearne, of Earlsdon, Coventry, first went to his GP complaining of discomfort in his abdomen.

A scan revealed he had an aneurysm near his kidney.

It meant the wall of his artery had begun to bulge out, creating a dangerous “blood balloon” inside him.

The aneurysm was monitored regularly for 12 months but grew so large it had to be treated and Mr Ahearne was referred to Asif Mahmood, a consultant vascular surgeon at University Hospital in Coventry.

He realised Mr Ahearne needed a stent, but because it had to have several branches for his arteries it had to be tailor-made in Australia.

Once the stent arrived there were two options – open surgery or keyhole surgery. The latter would be difficult as the aneurysm was so close to Mr Ahearne’s kidneys.

However, because his religion prevents him being given another person’s blood, it was still the preferred option as it carried a lower risk of needing a transfusion.

Mr Ahearne, who worked at an aircraft servicing company in Wellesbourne before retiring, said he was grateful to everyone at the hospital for co-operating with his beliefs.

“I appreciate that surgeons and medical staff can feel as if their hands are tied if they cannot give a blood transfusion, but obviously that belief is central to me,” he said.

Mr Ahearne had the operation on July 28 and was able to return home just three days later.

Mr Mahmood, who leads the endovascular aneurysm team, said a patient would normally need blood transfusions, a few days on a life support machine and up to 10 days in hospital, so keyhole surgery was quicker and better for the patient.

“By continuing to challenge ourselves and use innovative new techniques, we are not only benefiting patients like Mr Ahearne now but also those in the future,” he said.

Article Source: Country Telegraph .net


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