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HomeTestimonials Prevention of Unnecessary ProceduresNot every mistake needs to be fixed

Not every mistake needs to be fixed

Whilst undergoing a cardiac catheterisation the balloon of the catheter burst and 2 pieces of the balloon got stuck in the artery. To watch and wait or to urgently undergo surgery? That is why the patient approached Medix. A real story.

Mr Davies is a 49 years old gentleman that had a sudden Myocardial infarction as evidenced by chest pain, abnormal ECG and cardiac blood tests. He was admitted to the local hospital where a diagnostic coronary angiography confirmed minor atheroma (fatty deposits) in the left anterior descending artery and the left circumflex artery with no evidence of luminal obstructive coronary disease. The right coronary artery images revealed total proximal occlusion. Cardiac catheterisation/stenting was performed to his right distal coronary artery, and during the procedure the balloon of the catheter burst and 2 pieces of the balloon got stuck in the vessel. Numerous attempts to remove them failed, but attempts to unblock the arteries of the atheroma (fatty deposits) were successful. He was discharged from the hospital and remained asymptomatic. Cardiovascular examination was normal. Transthoracic echocardiogram confirmed good left ventricular systolic function with no evidence of new segmental wall motion abnormalities. Images obtained in the catheterisation lab suggested the presence of approximately 10 mm segments of the balloon in the descending aorta. He was recommended open surgery but his doctors later changed the plan to re-stenting to try to remove the pieces.


As he was stressed about the whole situation he was reviewed by a number of cardiologists that suggested either a percutaneous or open surgery approach for the removal of the remains of the balloon.


Since Mr Davies received contradicting recommendations, including an open-heart surgery, that left him feeling even more confused, he decided to seek Medix’ Personal Medical Case Management service.


On Mr Davies’ behalf, Medix consulted with a world-leading cardiologist who upon thoroughly reviewing the medical file recommended conservative management, the "watch and wait" strategy.  He believed that it is currently not necessary to retrieve the detached balloon unless it causes a clinically relevant complication such as thromboembolism, infection, etc. A surgical exploration seemed too drastic and probably not justified and an additional attempt to capture the balloon would most probably fail again. In order to prevent a vascular thrombotic event, Medix recommended to Mr Davies to take dual-anti-platelets medication.


Grateful that he does not need to go under the knife again, Mr Davies and the treating specialist whom Medix referred him to agreed with the watch and wait approach and he remains asymptomatic and in good condition to this date.


* All names were changed to respect patient privacy 

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