UK first for total keyhole surgery for aneurysm

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Jose Rodrigues with mask

A surgical team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ has performed the first procedure in the UK, and one of the first in the world, to treat a type of aneurysm completely by keyhole surgery.

For some patients who have an aortic arch aneurysm, where the major blood vessel arising from the heart has an abnormal bulge in between the heart and the chest, it is too risky to perform open heart surgery.

Instead patients undergo a complex operation which previously has been part keyhole - also known as endovascular - surgery. Surgeons insert tubes (stents) into the main artery to remove the aneurysm via a keyhole incision in the groin. However, traditional surgical incisions are also needed to be made in the neck to connect the tubes to the important blood vessels of the brain and arms.

Without treatment, the aneurysm can expand and eventually rupture causing significant internal bleeding or death.

Only two centres in the UK - Guy’s and St Thomas’ and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust - offer the current complex procedure, and now Guy’s and St Thomas’ is to become the first centre to offer an approach that brings even more benefits for patients.

Now the multidisciplinary team at St Thomas’ Hospital has refined their technique to allow this procedure to be done completely by keyhole surgery -without the need for any neck incision.

Dr Madhusudan Puchakayala, consultant cardiac and vascular anaesthetist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “This new procedure avoids open heart surgery and its associated risks, as well as reducing a stay on the intensive care unit and any further complications. It also allows for a faster recovery time, which helps patients return to their normal daily life.”

Jose Rodrigues, 57, was the first person to undergo this procedure at St Thomas’ Hospital at the end of July.

Wandsworth-based Jose said: “I’m really glad to have been able to take advantage of this new type of surgery, and to be the first person in the UK to have it. I’m still recovering, but already feel better after my operation.”

Said Abisi, consultant vascular and endovascular surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Thanks to the skill of our multi-disciplinary cardiovascular team, this is the first time in the UK it’s been possible to do this specialist procedure completely by keyhole surgery.

“This new method will have real benefits for patients such as Jose, and hopefully many others in the future.”

Last updated: March 2022

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