Malaysia’s first total aorta replacement surgery successful

July 28, 2017

The National Heart Institute (IJN) in Malaysia has successfully performed the first total aorta replacement surgery in the country, marking a breakthrough in heart treatment.

According to consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Paneer Selvam, the surgery from the root of aorta up to the vessel to the lower limb was a cutting edge procedure carried out on a patient who had thoracoabdominal aneurysm (swelling at the lower half of the aorta) or tearing of the internal wall of the aorta.

An aortic aneurysm is the abnormal swelling of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

An aneurysm can eventually cause the vessel to bulge to the point of rupture if it is left untreated, Dr. Paneer said, adding that the risk of death is as high as 80% in such cases.

The first patient to have the total aorta replacement is a 44-year-old woman who had two surgeries before she suffered a severe swelling of the aorta.

Dr. Paneer said that in the past, such patients would have no more hope but the patient was able to have a new lease of life following the new synthetic aorta replacement.

Another patient that IJN had treated for total replacement of the aorta was a 54-year-old man who was referred to IJN for further management of a complex aorta problem.

Dr. Paneer said that five in 100,000 people would have the risk of getting an aneurysm and when the condition worsened, they would need some form of treatment such as putting in a stent or surgery.

“The problem is due to old age, hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle as well as congenital or due to motor accidents,” he said.

The synthetic aorta is expected to last a lifetime.The complex surgery costs RM60,000 to RM80,000, according to IJN CEO Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Azhari Yakub.

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