CHENNAI: For Srinivasan, a 59-year-old bank employee, ignoring a toothache could have cost his life. On May 12, he was complaining of an infection in his tooth that he got treated. Little did he realise that 15 days later, something as innocuous as a toothache would snowball into a condition severely affecting blood supply to his brain.
With a noticeable lump on his neck and symptoms like drowsiness and difficulty in breathing, Srinivasan was examined by a doctor in his locality, Chrompet. “The doctor suspected a tumour and asked us to perform MRI and CT scans. Their results revealed abnormalities, after which we took him to Global Health City at Perumbakkam,” said his wife S Soorya.
At the hospital, he was diagnosed with Mycotic Pseudoaneurysm, a condition that made his carotid arteries supplying blood to the brain dilate and form a sac-like inflammation with weaker or absent walls. It can be caused by any infection in the head or neck region. In Srinivasan’s case, it was the tooth infection that triggered the Pseudoaneurysm. This led the surgeons of the Institute of Neurosciences and Spinal Disorders at the hospital to perform a rare and a unique surgery to restore the blood supply to his brain - the first of its kind in India, according to Chief Brain and Spine surgeon K Sridhar.
“Srinivasan’s right and left carotid arteries — those vessels that supply blood to the brain — were infected. The blood flow through the right artery was completely stopped when the infection from his teeth had spread.The effect was severe as he was suffering from diabetes. Though there was little blood flow through the left arteries, they were affected by pseudo aneurysm because of which the arteries were swollen, weak and were on the verge of bursting,” said Sridhar.
To avoid stopping the blood flow to the brain completely, a team of six doctors including three surgeons performed a surgery on June 10 that lasted for 11 hours, bypassing the swollen arteries on the left and replacing them by a man-made tube.
This restored the supply of blood through the left side and the infection in the right carotid arteries was being reduced through medicines.
“The infection has reduced considerably and the patient is recovering. We are very pleased that such a complicated surgery could have been performed at Chennai in our hospital,” said Sridhar.