First minimally invasive brain aneurysm surgery successfully done at GPHC 

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Guyana’s lone Neurosurgeon Dr Amarnauth Dukhi led a successful team to perform a minimally invasive surgery to treat a patient with a ruptured aneurysm in the brain.

June 26 was the first time such cutting-edge operation has ever been done in this country.

Dr Duhki said the minimally invasive surgery technique is being done in developed countries and in this case, it involved treating the brain aneurysm without opening the skull.

“This is something fantastic for our country, simply because we are now on par with what’s happening around the world with the first world countries. We may be just the third country in the Caribbean who is doing this other than Trinidad and Jamaica and we want to say that we have successfully treated the first brain aneurysm in Guyana,” Dr Duhki said at a press conference Friday at the GPHC’s Administration building on New Market Street.

Dr Dukhi is also the Head of Neurosurgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

Guyana’s lone Neurosurgeon Dr. Amarnauth Dukhi with the patient and her son at the GPHC (News Room photo)

The minimally invasive surgery was done on 56-year-old, Paula Sampson at the Caribbean Heart Institute of the Georgetown Hospital.

“This patient had an initial rupture about six weeks ago which was treated conservatively and resolved,” Dr Duhki said.

He said this operation takes away the risk of long term recuperation, however, the risk in the operation was likely to cause death and complications post operation.

“A brain aneurysm is a berry-like deformation of a vascular structure and in this case, it was in the brain. For neurosurgeons it is called the ticking time bomb, if it does rupture 40% of our patients die, 15% of which [die] before they actually get to the hospital on the first rupture…60% of all the patients who survive have some sort of neurological deficits,” Dr Duhki said.

The procedure was done from the thigh region and through the femoral artery and was then guided to the brain through the heart.

Dr Duhki said a metallic clip was used to coil and mobilize the aneurysm.

“This procedure is very risky; it entails the possibility of rupture during surgery.”

During the surgery, Dr Duhki said doctors also found a vessel in the patient’s brain that was closed, however, they were able to successfully insert a stent to keep the vessel open.

Meanwhile, just after the patient’s diagnosis, she had a second bleed but it was treated. Dr Duhki said that 78 to 80 per cent of persons with an aneurysm die from a second bleed.

“Fortunately for this particular, she made it through the second bleed on conservative management. We were able to put things in place with the support of her family and Georgetown Hospital, the Caribbean Heart Institute and the Ministry of Public Health,” Dr Duhki said.

The surgery lasted for approximately two and a half hours and was also supported by international radiologist, Dr Thairous Yorkis.

Dr Duhki said that an operation like this would have cost over US$200,000, but it is way less in Guyana.

The patient will be discharged on Saturday and will be required to do necessary follow-ups.

Dr Duhki said, “This patient will be able to move forward with her normal life and daily activities.”

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