‘Carotid angioplasty is a difficult surgery, where survival rate of patient is negligible’
K. Krishnamoorthy of Kasipalayam, Erode, was at the Coimbatore Collectorate on Monday – not to seek favour or grant from the State Government but to submit a demand draft for Rs.2,000, as a contribution to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Pulled back from the jaws of death through a free surgery at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, the demand draft sought to symbolise his gratitude to the Government.
Mustering strength to speak, he managed to convey using incomplete words that he wanted to thank the State Government for helping him regain vision and speech after the surgery to repair the carotid artery that was cut during a fight over collecting water at a roadside tap near his house in August this year.
Mr. Krishnamoorthy, a daily wager, underwent the surgery free of cost under the Chief Minister’s health insurance scheme. A fight while fetching water from the public tap, left him with a 1.5 cm-long cut in the artery, a big clot and severe swelling on the neck. “He had lost his vision, speech and mobility when he arrived at the CMCH a day later,” said K.S. Ganesan, Senior Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon.
After knocking on the doors of a few private hospitals in Erode, Mr. Krishnamoorthy’s friends decided to take him to government hospitals in Chennai when help came in the form of an information that Dr. Ganesan at CMCH could help them.
“We had almost bought the tickets when we received the information,” said one of his friends.
Along with family and friends, Mr. Krishnamoorthy arrived at the hospital around 5.30 p.m. on August 24. After a two-hour examination, the doctors decided to operate on the man. The doctors first performed a colour Doppler study and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which showed the problem in detail.
It was a complicated surgery but then he wanted to do it. “When I examined the case, the ‘If not I then who’ thought crossed my mind and I decided to go ahead,” the surgeon said.
The two anaesthetists were very hesitant because there was the possibility of huge blood pressure oscillation from 300 to 60 because of the possibility of the baro-receptor centre getting disturbed. The centre, after analysing the oxygen level in the body, accelerates or decelerates the heart rate. With the administration of anaesthesia, there was the chance of increase in heart beat.
Fortunately that did not happen, Dr. Ganesan said and added that after removing the clot, blood flow resumed to hypoglossal, spinal accessory and recurrent laryngeal nerve. The doctors also removed the occipital lobe of the brain, which is the visual processing centre.
In the process of carrying out the surgery, the doctors had to ensure that there was neither air embolism nor blood embolism, the surgical medical conditions that could endanger the life of the patient.
Dr. Ganesan said that after the six-hour surgery, Mr. Krishnamoorthy was able to respond to basic queries and therefore he was taken straight to the post-operative ward and not intensive care unit.
The doctor said that the carotid angioplasty was a difficult and rare surgery, where survival rate of the patient was negligible. Mr. Krishnamoorthy’s case was perhaps the first in India, he said and added that he would write to medical journals to establish the claim.