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New medical device aids Oklahoma patient with aneurysm

Mario Guzman, a 36-year-old father of five from El Reno, had an inoperable aneurysm and felt like time was running out. But Oklahoma City doctors were able to use a newly approved technology to repair the aneurysm before it burst.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: November 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm •  Published: November 22, 2012

— Mario Guzman was ready to pack his bags and head to Argentina or Turkey.

He had an inoperable aneurysm that could burst, five children to raise, and not a lot of time.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wasn't moving fast enough on approving the device that could save his life. Even though a trip to another country for the surgery would be costly, it was starting to look appealing.

“If it wasn't for Dr. Tytle constantly calling me and ensuring me it would go through, I might have gone to Argentina or Turkey a year before,” Guzman said. “But I'm glad we waited.”

In March, Dr. Timothy Tytle, an interventional radiologist at Mercy Health Center, used a newly approved pipeline stent to repair Guzman's aneurysm.

About a month ago, Tytle brought Guzman in to see how his aneurysm had changed since the surgery.

“We were very surprised to see the aneurysm, as large, as complex as it was, is totally gone,” Tytle said. “We don't anticipate the aneurysm will ever recur and fortunately for him, as is not the case for everyone, he only had one aneurysm so there's nothing else we have to address.”

An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery because of weakness in the wall of a blood vessel, according to the National Library of Medicine. A fusiform aneurysm is commonly defined as an elongated, spindle-shaped dilation of an artery.

Guzman was diagnosed about two years ago with a fusiform aneurysm. He initially went to the doctor because of repeated headaches. Doctors initially thought his allergies were bothering him but discovered he had viral meningitis and the aneurysm behind his right eye.

The base of his aneurysm was the size of his eye socket and was several inches long. Doctors did not want to take the risk of operating, and at the time of his diagnosis, the stent eventually used in Guzman's surgery was not yet available.

Guzman and his wife, Alisa Guzman, discussed going to another country for the procedure, but the trip and surgery would cost the family about $50,000. Thankfully, in April 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the pipeline stent.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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