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Earlsdon man gets pioneering surgery at University Hospital


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Earlsdon man gets pioneering surgery at University Hospital


by Matthew Bates in the Coventry Observer


A PATIENT at University Hospital has been the first to undergo specialist surgery to remove a dangerous aneurysm near his kidneys.

James Ahearne, from Earlsdon, had the life-saving treatment after refusing open surgery because he is a Jehovah's Witness.

It meant the 62-year-old was the first to have a multi-branched tube - specially designed in Australia - inserted via keyhole surgery to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a condition causing a main blood vessel to balloon.

The option saw less chance of a blood transfusion being needed - something he is against because of his beliefs.

Mr Ahearne, who is retired but previously worked at an aircraft servicing company in Wellesbourne, had gone to his GP because of discomfort on his abdomen and a scan showed a gallstone and an aneurysm near his kidney.

After 12 months, it had grown in size and Mr Ahearne was transferred to University Hospital where there were two options – open surgery or a type of keyhole surgery carried out through an artery in the groin, which was complicated by the fact the aneurysm was so close to the kidneys.

It meant the special stent had to be specifically designed for Mr Ahearne in Australia. The five-hour operation where it was used on July 28 was a success and Mr Ahearne was home three days later.

"I knew the operation had to happen because otherwise I could die," he said.

"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.

“But I was happy and grateful they went for it because they don’t anticipate any great blood loss which is possible with open surgery.

"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 and I am grateful that everyone at University Hospital co-operated with my beliefs."

Mr Mahmood, who leads the endovascular aneurysm service at the hospital, said the treatment was much more effective.

"In terms of recovery times it is much better for the patient who would ordinarily require blood transfusions, a few days on a life support machine in the intensive care unit and a hospital stay up to 10 days.

"With this procedure, the patients do not require blood or life support in intensive care, instead going back to the ward and home within two to three days."

"Although this was a technically challenging procedure, I’m pleased with the results and happy that Mr Ahearne is happy too."

Article Source: Coventry Observer

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