Australasian first for Perth surgeon
06 January 2012
In an Australasian-first surgery, a Perth patient was able to have his aneurysm repaired at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) in less than a week from diagnosis, thereby avoiding a nerve-racking six week wait for the manufacture of a custom-made graft.
Just before his 73rd birthday, an ultrasound revealed that Perth grandfather of two, Frederick Thomas, had a 7.5cm abdominal aortic aneurysm–a swelling of the arteries behind the belly button.
This was the second blow dealt to Frederick’s health, as he has a rapidly progressing but treatable leukaemia.
After the patient’s imaging was reviewed, it was decided that this particular aneurysm was suitable for the newly available Zenith p-Branch endovascular graft.
Immediate permission was sought from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and on the day of surgery a telephone call from Canberra gave Dr Peter Bray the approval to proceed with a ground-breaking surgical procedure that had previously only been performed once in the world.
The surgery was performed at SCGH, with a top Perth-based surgical team led by Dr Bray. Assisted by his colleagues, Mr Stefan Ponosh and Dr John Ferguson, Dr Bray undertook the pioneering four hour procedure.
Peter Bray, Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon at SCGH said that being able to perform the surgery at short notice reduced the risk that the patient’s aneurysm would rupture.
“Being diagnosed with an aneurysm is like having a ticking time bomb inside you for the six weeks you are waiting for your graft to be made,” said Dr Bray. “So having this surgery performed at SCGH within a week of the diagnosis shows what a huge leap forward this p-Branch graft is.”
“Perth is the birthplace of this technology, and people travel here from all around the world to learn the techniques to be used for this “cutting edge” fenestrated technology.”
“This procedure has resulted in a much better outcome for the patient, and I would like to thank SCGH for their continued commitment to advancing surgical techniques in the vascular field.”
Two days after the surgery Mr Thomas returned home to Morley, and has recently begun gardening again.
“I can’t believe how lucky I have been with my aneurysm, it’s amazing that I was diagnosed and had surgery at SCGH the following week and I’m now doing so well,” said Mr Thomas.
Dr Bray recommends that people over the age of 65 with a family history of aneurysms or smoking see their GP to discuss whether a screening ultrasound would be useful to exclude this usually asymptomatic but lethal condition.