By Isanella Patoir
One day after undergoing brain surgery to treat a ruptured brain aneurysm, 43-year-old Parbattie ‘Ravina’ Austin is walking, talking and doing everything for herself.
Before the minimally invasive surgery, the mother of four could not do any physical activity; she had to be free of any stress, noise, excessive bright lights and high scented odours.
The modernised procedure was done on Thursday at the Caribbean Heart Institute at the Georgetown Public Hospital by Guyana’s lone neurosurgeon, Dr Amarnauth Dukhi. The surgery is not offered in the public health sector.
“My surgery is finished and I thank God for my success, my confidence in Dr Dukhi which I never give up on and my faith in God took me through,” an emotional Austin said just before she was discharged on Saturday.
Austin of Overwinning, East Bank Berbice said she almost feels like herself again; she has no pain and so far no side effects.
“I feel like me, I am ready to go home and play with my puppies and see my kids and be me, I know it will take some time for it to be the real me,” Austin said.
While MRI scans initially only showed one aneurysm, during the surgery Dr Dukhi explained that they found another one. Both of the aneurysms were treated successfully through a minimally invasive technique known as endovascular coiling.
This is where an incision in the skull is not required but rather a catheter is used to reach the aneurysm in the brain and a coil or clip is released to block the aneurysm and prevents it from bleeding.
“A ruptured aneurysm carries a high fatality; a high percentage of patients die in the first rupture, also a high percentage of them have neurological deficits after the first rupture,” Dr Dukhi explained.
Austin was diagnosed in September 2019 and given the difficulty her family faced in gathering finances to offset the cost for the surgery, Dr Dukhi said the Ministry of Public Health stepped in and supported.
Dr Dukhi noted that treating brain aneurysm is new to the health system.
“No other Guyanese should die from a brain aneurysm that [was] captured and diagnosed early; we have means and ways of treating them and so the fatality rate should go down,” Dr Dukhi said.
He said Austin will now have to make some lifestyle changes but assured that her risk of further bleeding is minimal and going forward, she should lead a normal life.
However, she was advised not to fatigue herself too much.
“I am very keen on seeing Ms Parbattie [go] back to what she used to do.”
Dr Dukhi could not state the amount it cost to do the surgery, only that it was “costly.”
Austin had told the News Room that it would have amounted to $6.4M, however, Dr Dukhi said the second aneurysm also added to the cost.