Patient Shimon Ganot 370.
(photo credit: Kaplan Medical Center)
It may never be too late to undergo a (modified) coronary heart bypass: A
94-year-old man – one of the oldest Israelis to undergo surgery so far – has
successfully had diseased arteries in his heart replaced at Kaplan Medical
Center in Rehovot.
Dr. Ron Brauner, head of cardiothoracic surgery at the
hospital, said on Monday that conventional bypass surgery poses serious risk to
nonagenarians, thus an amended technique was used to avoid putting the patient
under general anesthesia and attaching him to a respiratory.
Ganot, who was born in 1918, fought in the pre-state Palmah and was an IDF
infantry officer in four wars. Now, the farmer and father of three lives with
his family at Moshav Arugot near Kiryat Malachi.
Brauner, a veteran
cardiac surgeon, said his patient has lived independently and been mentally
sharp. But two weeks ago he arrived at Kaplan’s emergency room suffering from
chest pains and shortness of breath. Doctors quickly realized his life was in
danger. The diagnosis: cardiac infarction.
Ganot underwent a diagnostic
catheterization, which disclosed that several coronary arteries were completely
blocked, reducing the blood supply to his heart muscle to a few internal vessels
that had naturally created themselves from existing vessels by angiogenesis over
He urgently needed bypass surgery, but that could have caused
serious complications in the brain, kidneys and respiratory system.
modified operation was performed by Kaplan surgeons without using a heart/lung
machine that takes over for the pumping of the heart. Instead, a different
device was used that significantly shortened the procedure.
When it was
over, the anesthesiologists woke the patient up to wean him from the ventilator
even before he was transferred to the intensive care unit.
from the surgery without any pain, and the breathing tube was removed while he
lay on the operating table. The next day, he stood on his feet and gradually
regained the functioning he enjoyed before.
Ganot, who has cared for
fruit orchards for many years, had been complaining recently of shortness of
breath. Now, after the surgery, his respiration is much better. He hopes soon to
be discharged home.
Asked for the secret of his longevity, Ganot said:
“My wife, the queen of our home, who always took care of me. I did everything
Brauner said that with the ageing of the population, heart
disease appears at later ages, but even people over 80 can be helped. The amount
of cardiothoracic surgery in this age group has tripled in recent
“Proper choice and treatment of suitable patients can make it
possible to perform surgery even in patients over 90 like Ganot,” he said.