Dr Ibrahim Riza, vascular and endovascular surgeon at the Mediclinic City Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A British tourist, who suddenly developed a rare, life-threatening condition during a visit to Dubai, was miraculously saved by doctors after she was rushed from one emergency to another in the nick of time.

Dr Ibrahim Riza, vascular and endovascular surgeon at the Mediclinic City Hospital, told XPRESS the 66-year-old woman was referred to him after another private hospital where she was earlier taken could not treat her for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which she was diagnosed with through an emergency scan.

He said the highly critical condition was characterised by an enlargement of the aorta or the largest blood vessel in the abdomen which could prove fatal if it ruptured. As the first hospital did not have the expertise to deal with the problem, the patient was immediately transferred to Mediclinic City Hospital, which prepared the cathlab for her by the time she arrived.

“It was too risky for us to do an open surgery under general anesthesia, so we opted for a keyhole procedure under local anesthesia. A small cut was made in the abdomen and under X-ray guidance, we were able to place a stent below the kidney arteries and cover the hole,” he said, adding that the surgery took an hour and 20 minutes.

Repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm using the keyhole surgery technique also has its share of risks but comes with proven benefits if it is done in the right way by a highly skilled doctor.

Dr Riza said the woman was lucky she got a timely diagnosis and treatment. “The condition is very rare in this part of the world. There are no symptoms until it bursts. So it can goes undiagnosed, leading to sudden unexplained deaths which are sometimes blamed on severe heart attacks, cardiovascular disease or heavy smoking.”

He said the woman who was discharged after three days has now flown back to the UK. According to the doctor, the tourist’s case serves as a reminder for both physicians and patients that symptoms of acute abdominal or lower back pain cannot be taken lightly.

“The possibility of an abdominal aortic aneurysm should not be ruled out, so one must go in for a thorough check-up. Else it can lead to sudden death.”