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Centra Team Performs Nearly Heart Stopping Aneurysm Surgery - abc27 WHTM

Centra Team Performs Nearly Heart Stopping Aneurysm Surgery

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Lynchburg, VA – A Centra team recently performed a groundbreaking surgery at Lynchburg General Hospital.

Neurosurgeon Dilan Ellegalla, M.D. knew his patient's aneurysm was extraordinary. The steps needed to fix it would have to be as well.

"It was so large that we couldn't see all the branching arteries around it and couldn't fix it safely," said Ellegalla. "At that point, there really weren't any other options."

At least nothing Dr. Ellegalla could do on his own. To take care of the aneurysm inside his patient's head, he'd need someone who could stop her heart.

"We had to do something creative for this woman, because there really wasn't any good answer for trying to take care of this aneurysm," said David Frantz, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon.

That someone was Dr. David Frantz, a cardiovascular surgeon.  Anesthesiologist Michael MacCormac, M.D. had worked in both surgeon's operating rooms.  MacCormac was selected for the surgery.

"Each component part we'd already done before and we've been successful," said MacCormac. "The question was bringing it all together."

What they brought together was a 19 person surgical team and two sets of equipment, one set for each specialty.

"Sometimes one group's preference will interfere with the other group's needs," said MacCormac. "We had to kind of anticipate where we would have conflicts and avoid them going in."

With a couple weeks to plan and those potential conflicts solved, surgery day was November 22.

"In this case we didn't stop her heart, but we took it down to the point where there was basically very little circulation, very low blood pressure and allowed him to do his work," said Frantz.

"Prior to the heart being stopped, this aneurysm was maybe ten times the size," said Ellegalla. "The aneurysm collapsed and allowed me and my team to look around it, dissect it, and safely clip it."

"This was the most anxious time for us as he dissects around the aneurysm and puts the clips on," said Frantz.

Doctors holding their breath for one anxious moment.  Nearly stopping a heart, was the easy part.

The doctors wouldn't know until the patient woke up that the surgery had been a success.

She was out of the hospital four days later. We're told she is doing well now, that the aneurysm is no longer a threat.

Ellegalla has performed this type of surgery before at other hospitals. This is believed to be the first time it's been done in Virginia.

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