The National Heart Institute (IJN) has once again cemented its role as Malaysia’s leading heart centre by successfully carrying out the first total aorta replacement surgery in the country. (Pix by FARIZ ISWADI ISMAIL.)

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Heart Institute (IJN) has once again cemented its role as Malaysia’s leading heart centre by successfully carrying out the first total aorta replacement surgery in the country.

IJN Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr Paneer Selvam Krishna Moorthy said the cutting-edge procedure was carried out on a patient who had a thoracoabdominal aneurysm (an aneurysm occurring in both the thoracic and abdominal aorta) earlier this week.

An aortic aneurysm is the abnormal swelling of the aorta, which is the body’s largest blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

If left untreated, Dr Paneer said an aneurysm can eventually cause the vessel to bulge to the point of rupture.

"In such cases, the risk of death is as high as 80 per cent.

“Repairing the aorta is still a very complicated process, and some patients’ only options are limited to open surgery due to the nature of their heart condition or other existing comorbidities.

"But with the expertise, facilities and capabilities available at IJN, we are able to utilise the latest techniques — from endovascular surgery (a minimally invasive procedure) to ‘frozen elephant trunk’ — to save more lives,” he said at a press conference here today.

'Frozen elephant trunk' is the total hybrid aortic arch replacement, which is used to repair aortic aneurysms.

IJN chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub said with this approach, patients now only need a single operation.

Previously, he said patients would need to undergo two separate procedures, increasing both costs and risks to the patient.

"The centre was the first in the country to successfully carry out the procedure.

“The first ‘frozen elephant trunk’ surgery was completed in January last year. Since then, we have performed 10 cases of total thoracic aortic repair using the method and this the largest such series of cases in the country.

"As the country’s premier heart centre, we continuously strive to offer patients world-class treatment to improve their outcomes,” he added.

581 reads