A 22-year-old BBA graduate from Tindivanam, who consumed pesticide and attempted suicide in 2011, has now become the first person in the State to live with a stent in his trachea.
The doctors at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital conducted the one-of-its-kind surgery and helped the patient comfortably breathe and speak after he was diagnosed with sub-glottic stenosis, which is the narrowing of the airway.
Hailing from a family of farmers, the graduate decided to end his life and consumed the poison containing organophosphorus compound, due to issues at home in December 2011. His attempt led to different treatments and surgeries in three hospitals for the next 18 months.
He was initially rushed to the Government Hospital in Puducherry, where tubes were inserted and removed twice and he was put on ventilator after being diagnosed with superior laryngeal nerve palsy when he could not speak properly or breathe. Doctors at the GGH said it changed the pitch of his voice.
He was then admitted to a private hospital in Porur in February 2012 after breathing problems. He underwent tracheostomy, a surgery where an incision was made through the neck to the trachea and a Shiley Tracheastomy tube was inserted for him to breathe.
“When he came to GGH for the removal of the tube, we found he had sub-glottic stenosis. It is the narrowing of the airway. We conducted tracheoplasty procedure where a device called Montgomery ‘T’ tube was inserted in October 2012. This surgery could cost Rs 1.5 lakh in a private hospital but it was done free of cost here,” said Dr V Kanagasabai, Dean, RGGGH.
Though the youth regained his voice, he was still worried and uncomfortable over the tube jutting out of his neck. In May 2013, a team of doctors — Professor Dr G Gananathan, his assistant professors Dr V Rajarajan, Dr Thalapathy Ramkumar and Dr Shanmugha Ashok conducted a procedure and inserted a stent in the trachea. The stent, made of silicon is the same as the one used in heart procedures and is sized anywhere between five centimetres and 12 centimetres, doctors said.
“There was a risk of the trachea collapsing every six months. The patient was also depressed as he had already undergone three different treatments. So we inserted a permanent stent and closed the hole in the neck. This surgery again could have cost him another `1.5 lakh but we did it for free through the Dean’s fund,” the dean explained.
Dr Gananathan said that the trachea was vital for breathing and that the complications the young patient suffered could have not only resulted in lung infection but would have also affected his voice and his day-to-day physical activity. “Now I can lead a normal life like anyone does. I will not commit the same mistake of attempting suicide again,” said the 22-year-old.
Doctors said the patient will have to undergo an X-Ray once every three to six months to check, if the stent was in place.