‘It was a real miracle for us’ New technology at Intermountain Healthcare saves man’s life

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Intermountain Healthcare recently became the first in Utah to perform a new lifesaving and less invasive heart procedure.

“It was a real miracle for us, for our family,” said Nilsa Gomez, whose husband received this new procedure.

64-year-old Antonio Gomez has lived a healthy and full life, filled with family.

But one day, he randomly felt unbearable pain.

“Everything just kind of hit full force, I started to have some debilitating pain in the chest, excruciating pain, I wasn’t sure what was going on,” he said.

He had an aortic aneurysm and was intensive care for 22 days, doctors told his wife that he had bleeding in his heart she said she was concerned he would have to have open heart surgery.

“We prayed a lot for him and his recovery, we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Nilsa said.

She said he returned home from the hospital for a few weeks and that once he was a very independent person, was unable to do anything for himself..

“He was very sick, it wasn’t normal, he wasn’t my husband at all,” she said.

Intermountain healthcare doctors John Doty and Evan Brownie noticed Antonio’s arota doubled in size in the month since his aneurysm..

“Unfortunately, his wasn’t healing it was growing and dangerous to rupture,” said Dr. Doty.

That’s when Doty and Brownie approached them about a new procedure that could help Antonio, without doing open heart surgery, called thoracic branch endoprosthesis.

They were able to repair Gomez’s aortic aneurysm by feeding a stent graft through his blood vessels.

“This device allows us to treat diseases like Antonio’s with just a puncture hole into the arteries,” said Dr. Brownie.

The new procedure allows surgeons to maintain blood flow to the brain throughout the operation and can reduce recovery time from a few weeks to just a couple of days.

Antonio was released from the hospital the day after his surgery in October and is now back to work and back to celebrating life with his family.

“I’m so grateful for everybody that took care of me on those days,” said Antonio.

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