Salt Lake City, Utah — Intermountain Healthcare recently performed the first life-saving minimally invasive heart surgery in Utah.
“It’s been a real miracle for our family,” said Nilsa Gomez, whose husband underwent the new surgery.
Antonio Gomez, 64, is living a healthy, fulfilling life and is surrounded by family.
But one day, suddenly, I felt an unbearable pain.
“Everything was like a full-blown blow. I had debilitating pain in my chest, excruciating pain. I didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
He had an aortic aneurysm and had been in intensive care for 22 days. Doctors told his wife that she was worried that she had a bleeding heart and that she would have to undergo open-heart surgery.
“We prayed a lot for him and his recovery. We didn’t know what would happen,” said Nilsa.
She said he had been home from the hospital for several weeks.
“He was very sick. It wasn’t normal. He wasn’t my husband,” she said.
Intermountain health care physicians John Doty and Evan Brownie noticed that Antonio’s aneurysm had doubled in size in a month from the aneurysm.
“Unfortunately, he hadn’t healed. It was growing and was in danger of bursting,” Dr. Doty said.
That’s when Doti and Brownie approached them about a new procedure called a thoracic bifurcation endoprosthesis that could help Antonio without having to undergo open-heart surgery.
They were able to repair Gomez’s aortic aneurysm by supplying a stent graft through his vessel.
“With this device, we can treat diseases like Antonio’s by simply puncturing an artery,” said Dr. Brownie.
This new procedure allows surgeons to maintain blood flow to the brain during surgery, reducing recovery time from weeks to just days.
Antonio was discharged from the hospital the day after his surgery in October and is now back at work and enjoying life with his family.
Antonio said, “I am so grateful to everyone who took care of me that day.