Salt Lake City, Utah — Intermountain Healthcare recently became the first company in Utah to perform a new life-saving and less invasive heart procedure.
“It’s been a real miracle for us and our family,” said Nilsa Gomez, whose husband underwent the new surgery.
Antonio Gomez, 64, lives a healthy and fulfilling life full of family.
But one day, he suddenly felt unbearable pain.
“Everything was going all out and I started to feel some weakness in my chest, unbearable pain, I wasn’t sure what was going on,” he said.
He had an aortic aneurysm and spent 22 days in intensive care when doctors told his wife his heart was bleeding and she said she was worried he would have to have open-heart surgery.
“We’ve prayed a lot for him and his recovery, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Nielsa said.
She said he had been home from the hospital for a few weeks and had been a very independent person who couldn’t do anything for himself.
“He’s very sick, it’s not normal, he’s not my husband at all,” she said.
Intermountain Healthcare physicians John Doty and Evan Brownie noticed that Antonio’s aorta had doubled in size within a month of his aneurysm.
“Unfortunately, his wound didn’t heal, it was growing and bursting easily,” said Dr. Dottie.
That’s when Doty and Brownie presented them with a new surgical approach that could help Antonio without the need for open-heart surgery, called a thoracic endoprosthesis.
They were able to repair Gomez’s aortic aneurysm by threading a stent graft through his blood vessel.
“This device allows us to treat diseases like Antonio’s by simply punching a hole in the artery,” said Dr. brownie.
The new procedure allows surgeons to maintain blood flow to the brain throughout the procedure and can cut recovery time from weeks to days.
Antonio, who was discharged the day after surgery in October, is now back at work and celebrating life with his family.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who took care of me in those days,” Antonio said.