Tourist saved in first Israeli aorta surgery
50-year-old Russian tourist flown from the central hospital in Moscow with the urgent problem and sent to Soroka hospital.
Doctors (illustrative) Photo: REUTERS/Swoan Parker
A 50-year-old Russian tourist who suffered from a long rupture in his aorta has
been saved in a complex procedure at Soroka University Medical Center in
The aorta is the largest artery and distributes oxygenated
blood from the heart to all parts of the body.
The man was flown from the
central hospital in Moscow with the urgent problem and sent to the Negev
Imaging showed that the aorta split all along its length,
including the arteries that supply blood to the brain, kidneys and digestive
system. The aorta’s valve also leaked appreciably.
Russian doctors said
they were unable to treat him.
Prof. Gideon Sahar, head of cardiothoracic
surgery at Soroka, received a phone call from Moscow informing him of the
“It seemed the chances of saving him were close to nil,” said
Sahar. “Every hour that passed reduced his survival by 1 percent; half of all
patients with this condition die within two days, but we still felt we had a
responsibility to fight for his life.”
After undergoing tests, he was
moved to the operating theater. The main problem was how to attach a patient
with a completely torn aorta to a heart-lung machine. It was decided, after
consultation with Prof. Gabriel Sandro, head of the vascular surgery department,
to connect the machine directly to the left ventricle – a procedure that has
been carried out only a small number of times abroad and never before in Israel.
The best anesthesiologists were assigned to the case.
“It is said,” noted
Sandro, “that a surgeon can’t go to bed until his patient wakes up, especially
in cases in which the blood circulation is completely halted for a certain time.
Long hours of expectation passed until we saw the patient regained consciousness
and was able to move his limbs.
We were so excited to see him a day after
the operation sitting relaxed on his chair, disconnected from most of the
devices except for his iPod on which he was watching his favorite
The patient is recovering, and it is hoped that he will return
quickly to his home in Russia, the Clalit Health Services hospital said.