Full recovery for cop after life-saving brain surgery  

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Amit Bacchus, a policeman and a father of five, is expected to make a full recovery after he underwent a minimally invasive brain surgery performed by neurosurgeon Dr. Amarnauth Dukhi at the Woodlands Hospital.

Amit Bacchus and his spouse, Sunita Persaud (Photo: News Room/ March 17, 2022)

Bacchus was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and medical specialists here deemed it the largest ever found in Guyana.

The disease is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins, which disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation to the brain.

During a press conference on Thursday at the Woodlands Hospital at Carmichael Street in Georgetown, the beaming 35-year-old cop shared his journey to recovery in the presence of his wife, Dr. Dukhi and the hospital’s Management Consultant, Vilas Gobin.

Bacchus, of Diamond, East Bank Demerara, was an otherwise healthy individual before he began to experience extreme tiredness over a year ago. Things took a turn for the worse when he experienced his first seizure and he wasted no time seeking medical attention to find out exactly what was wrong.

He sought Dr. Dukhi’s consult and after an MRI was done, doctors found the source – a grade five AVM – the largest ever seen.

In healthy patients, arteries are responsible for taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain and veins carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart but in Bacchus’ condition, the AVM disrupted this critical process, causing the surrounding tissues in his brain to not get enough oxygen.

And because the tangled blood vessels that form the AVM are abnormal, they can weaken and rupture with the worse possible scenario being a stroke, brain damage, and even death.

An AVM occurs rarely, Dr. Dukhi said; merely one in 2000 patients stand a chance of developing the condition.

And to fix it, doctors would have to perform an “onyx embolization” – a minimally invasive procedure where surgical glue is placed at the site of the AVM to close the opening to prevent rupture and leaking.

The surgery, Dr. Dukhi said, is “extremely expensive” but with help from the Guyana Police Force, the Ministry of Health and private donors, Bacchus and his family were able to raise the needed $6 million to get it done.

Dr. Armanauth Dukhi (left) and Vilas Gobin, Management Consultant of the Woodlands Hospital

And on January 25, Bacchus went into the Catheterization Laboratory or “CATH Lab” at 14:00hrs; two and half hours later, he was done with 75 per cent of the AVM removed.

“By God’s grace, I am not just 100 per cent, I am 110 per cent. Things that I could not do normally, ride a bike and other stuff, I can do and I thank God and the team for all the help they gave,” a grateful Bacchus said.

According to Dr. Dukhi, the procedure went off with few complications. He explained that because of the critical nature of the surgery, the team was forced to make use of a new piece of medical technology – a cerebral flow diverter – to re-divert his blood flow from the AVM.

“That was the first time ever, that piece of technology was used in Guyana because AVM’s that are grade five are extremely difficult and we got 75 per cent of it,” Dr. Dukhi explained.

It was noted that for the remaining 25 per cent, Bacchus is expected to have another surgery done in three to six months’ time. And Bacchus is confident that he will recover again.

Bacchus advised people “not to take their health for granted” and encouraged them to get regular check-ups.

“If someone is sick, something is causing that sickness so go to the doctor, do not wait until it gets bad,” he urged.

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