Prompt treatment saves farm labourer's life. R. Sujatha reports

Mani is alive because he submitted himself to prolonged hospital stay. This 55-year-old farm labourer from Gummidipoondi came to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in February-end, complaining of difficulty in swallowing. He was admitted to ward 122 for investigation.

After several rounds of examinations, he was diagnosed with aortic aneurysm – a condition where the main artery runs parallel to the food pipe. The eight-inch long aneurysm was pressing on Mani’s food pipe. He was shifted to the cardiology department on March 11 to prepare for surgery. Even as investigations were on, Mani vomited blood. The aneurysm had broken through the food pipe.

Doctors decided on an emergency procedure, involving an anaesthetist, cardiothoracic surgeon and vascular surgeon. “He was found to have a thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm. Since he was in the hospital we could rush him to the operation theatre. Normally, patients do not survive as they come late for treatment,” said cardiothoracic surgeon N. Nagarajan. In a six-hour surgery, an eight-inch graft was provided to the patient, he said.

The surgeon made a 20-inch incision from Mani’s back to his navel to remove the blood vessel and place a graft. He was administered 10 units of blood. According to the hospital dean, the graft, which is around seven inches, costs only Rs. 30,000; but the procedure, which is extremely complex, could costs Rs. 3 lakh, in a private hospital. said hospital dean V. Kanagasabai. The surgery is covered under the Chief Minister’s health insurance scheme, he added.

More In: Downtown | Chennai