New vascular service produces dramatic results

Members of the vascular surgery team who performed a recent kissing stent procedure at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. From left, Dr. Anatoly Shuster, interventional radiologist, Dr. Yaasin Abdulrehman, vascular surgeon, Rebecca Smith, medical radiation technologist and Christy Lactu, medical radiation technologist.

Members of the vascular surgery team who performed a recent kissing stent procedure at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. From left, Dr. Anatoly Shuster, interventional radiologist, Dr. Yaasin Abdulrehman, vascular surgeon, Rebecca Smith, medical radiation technologist and Christy Lactu, medical radiation technologist.

Kissing stents save Nakina woman’s leg

People in Northwestern Ontario lose their limbs to amputation at a rate 2.7 times greater than the provincial average.

Many of these amputations would not have been necessary if the patient had received appropriate care sooner. But a lack of cardiovascular services in the northwest has contributed to the much higher loss of limbs.

The introduction of Cardiovascular Services at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, endorsed by the provincial government last June, will have a dramatic impact on reversing this inequity and saving limbs for people in northwestern Ontario.

It has already likely saved at least one.

Gaetanne Roy of Nakina feels lucky to still have all her limbs. She was the recipient of one of the first bilateral aortoiliac kissing stent insertion procedures performed at Thunder Bay Regional. The procedure was done by vascular surgeon Dr. Yaasin Abdulrehman and vascular interventional radiologist Anatoly Shuster. It was only because the hospital had recruited these two specialists that the procedure was able to be performed here.

For Roy, the benefit cannot be overstated.

“Thunder Bay saved my leg,” she states unequivocally.

Roy’s was a complicated case. She is diabetic and has a transplanted kidney. She was suffering from severe vascular disease, resulting in dramatic narrowing and blocking of the arteries pumping blood to her legs and feet. She had developed ulcers on her foot. Her nephrologist, Dr. Paul Watson, referred her to Abdulrehman, concerned she was in danger of losing her limb.

She was indeed. With the tissue loss from her condition, Roy had a 40 per cent chance of losing her leg within six months if her circulation wasn’t improved, said Abdulrehman.

“She certainly was high risk,” he said.

Before these two doctors were recruited to Thunder Bay, the severity of her case might not have been recognized as quickly and the need for rapid intervention not identified. Once it was, there would be an additional delay in getting her transported to Winnipeg or Toronto where she would see a vascular specialist. Those delays would have increased the likelihood of her losing her leg, said Shuster.

Abdulrehman was the lead on Roy’s case. As this case was more technically challenging given the severity of the disease to the aorta and arteries, as well as the vulnerability of the transplanted kidney, Abdulrehman and Shuster worked collaboratively on it. The procedure required two stents, the kissing stents, to be simultaneously and precisely placed – one by each specialist – abutting each other and perfectly balanced at the spot where the aorta branches off into the two arteries bringing blood to her lower limbs. At the same time, they had to ensure the inserted stent didn’t block a third artery that had been surgically constructed to flow blood to the transplanted kidney, her only working kidney, and which branched off one of the bilateral arteries. The measurement and placements had to be very precise.

They also required the continued participation of Watson, as the contrast agent injected to produce an effective angiogram image is toxic to a transplanted kidney. So further medication and care had to be provided to prevent harm to Roy even while trying to treat her condition.

The procedure was a success and Roy is now back in Nakina, safe and whole.

“There’s no comparing what my life would be like without (my leg),” she said. “It’s very important to have this service here.”

The specific benefit to Roy is obvious. But developing a cardiovascular service in northwestern Ontario will have a tangible benefit for the entire region, said Arlene Thomson, director of the cardiovascular and stroke program at Thunder Bay Regional. This region has the worst health status in the province. Its residents are at increased risk of developing vascular complications due to a variety of factors, including a higher rate of diabetes.

The loss of a limb is extremely devastating and changes the lives of patients forever,” said Thomson. “Patients lose their independence, often their ability to earn a living and also face high risks related to the progression of other cardiovascular diseases. The fact that we can now offer our patients the best options available will help us reduce amputation rates.” n

Filed in: First Nations, News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You might like:

Labelle Family donates $5 Million to HSN Labelle Family donates $5 Million to HSN
Northern nursing grads have best pass rate in Ontario Northern nursing grads have best pass rate in Ontario
Fertility clinic opens to help northeastern families Fertility clinic opens to help northeastern families
21 new doctors now serving Sudbury 21 new doctors now serving Sudbury

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment
© 2019 Northern Ontario Business. All rights reserved.
Read previous post:
CCAC therapists spearhead electronic charting

Personal hot spot functionality on smartphones allows mobile staff to connect to patient records The North East Community Care Access...

Close