Kaweah Delta adds abdominal aortic aneurysm repair to its minimally invasive surgery options
VISALIA – Tulare County residents no longer have to go out of the
area for minimally invasive abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair.
Heriberto Zazueta, of Orosi, and his family members were glad to hear that
last fall when doctors decided it was time for him to have surgery to
repair his aorta, the main blood vessel delivering blood to his body.
Since Spring 2017, doctors had been watching his enlarged aorta. By fall
they decided it was time for him to have surgery to prevent the rupture
of his aorta. AAAs are diagnosed in more than three million people a year
and can be life-threatening if they rupture.
But Zazueta was also fighting cancer and his family members speculated
that traveling would be too much for the 79 year old. He was already going
through a difficult bout with cancer, they said.
Zazueta became the first person in Tulare County to undergo a complex (fenestrated)
minimally invasive AAA repair at Kaweah Delta Medical Center.
“He walked out of here in just a few days,” said Edward Samourjian,
M.D., one of three vascular surgeons from South Valley Vascular, who worked
to repair Heriberto’s AAA in October 2017 at Kaweah Delta. “These
cases have never been done here; they are usually done at higher-level
medical centers. Now patients do not need to travel great distances to
Both open surgical repair and minimally invasive surgical repair offer
advantages. While open surgical repair requires a cut in the abdomen or
side of the patient, minimum invasive surgical repair happens through
one small cut in one groin and one small puncture in the other groin or
two small punctures in the groin. For open surgical repair, a patient
normally has an overnight hospital stay and another five to seven days
in the hospital. While for minimum invasive surgical repair, patients
stay in the hospital only a few days.
Dr. Samourjian and Abdulrahman Hamdi, M.D., were recruited to Tulare County
by South Valley Vascular to offer this minimally invasive procedure to
the greater Visalia region and Tulare County. It is a team procedure,
which requires anywhere from one to three surgeons in the operating room.
Zazueta’s daughter Luz said they made the right choice keeping her
father close to home for surgery. “It is amazing to have this medical
service locally,” Luz said. “It is incredible how quickly
he recovered. He is doing much better now.”