Farmer at reduced risk thanks to a ‘life-saving’ polymer filler

Posted on in Hospitals, Services, The trust

A 72 year-old Teesside farmer is now at much less risk of suffering a ruptured aneurysm thanks to vascular surgeons and radiologists performing a ‘new generation’ stent procedure at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

From the left: Mr Barnabas Green, consultant vascular surgeon and consultant interventional radiologists Dr Ahmed Kaabneh, and Dr Simon Milburn show the model of how the Nellix stent works.

From the left: Mr Barnabas Green, consultant vascular surgeon and consultant interventional radiologists Dr Ahmed Kaabneh, and Dr Simon Milburn show the model of how the Nellix stent works.

Due to Francis Fabi’s large and life-threatening aneurysm being so close to the arteries to his kidneys, a conventional stent was not an option. As there was not enough ‘neck’ for the usual stents to secure to, the surgeons used the new Nellix stent – an endovascular aneurysm sealing system – to overcome the problem.

Each Nellix stent was inserted through the arteries at the top of each of his legs and, under x-ray guidance, positioned in place. The Nellix stents each come with an outer bag which when filled with a special polymer seals the aneurysm from the circulation.

Initially the bags are filled with water to assess how much polymer will need to be used. The water is then drained and the polymer inserted. Several minutes later the polymer has set and the stent guidance system is then removed, leaving the new stents in place encased in the solidified polymer which has acted as a seal and relieving the pressure on the aneurysm.

Consultant interventional radiologist Dr Ahmed Kaabneh, right, carries out a ‘dry run’ under the tutelage of Anne-Marie Spence of Endologix.

Consultant interventional radiologist Dr Ahmed Kaabneh, right, carries out a ‘dry run’ under the tutelage of Anne-Marie Spence of Endologix.

Before his operation, Francis, of Bishopton, said: “I complained about pains in my legs and stomach after years of driving tractors and other farm machinery and my GP sent me for an ultrasound. It was then, around Christmas time, they found the aneurysm and was told to do nothing and it’s been a very frustrating time. I don’t even know I’ve got it! I’ve always felt this way and whether I’ll feel much difference afterwards I don’t know, but I’ll be reassured that the risk of it rupturing will be greatly reduced.”

Dr Ahmed Kaabneh, the consultant interventional radiologist who led this operation, said: “Francis’ aneurysm was of a shape that conventional endovascular repair would have failed to treat it. Nellix graft offered the best and most likely, only treatment option for his aneurysm. It’s a life-saver”.

Nathan Wilkinson, of Endologix, makers of the Nellix stents, added:  “Nellix has the ability to treat a wider range of patients’ anatomies than other current devices giving patients like Mr Fabi this treatment option”.