Ganado Patient Undergoes Invasive Stent Surgery

GANADO- Jerry Upshaw, 75, had a decision to make – his life or the cigarettes.

“I started pretty young when I started, didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” said Upshaw.

Jerry’s smoking addiction became apart of his daily routine.

“I used to eat and when I would get through eating, I would smoke a cigarette and that’s how I got hooked on it.”

What Jerry didn’t know, was that every puff from each cigarette quietly contributed to a bigger problem – his health. A routine September visit with his doctor revealed the existence of something troubling growing inside his body.

“When I had the x-ray, the doctor said he saw a spot and that’s what it was,” said Upshaw.

That spot, an aneurysm, impacting a main artery.

“Then the doctor took an x-ray of my body and that’s where he saw the other spots.”

A total of 4 abdominal aortic aneurysms, all discovered at a size, considered deadly by doctors.

“Abdominal aortas are usually only 2 centimeters and his were 6 centimeters,” said Dr. Yusuke Yahagi, Citizens Medical Center Chief of Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery. “Arteries are about 1 centimeter and his were about 5 centimeters, so he was ready to burst.”

Cigarette smoking can increase the body’s risk for aortic aneurysms.

“I don’t know how it got like that,” said Upshaw. “I don’t know, from smoking probably.”

It can also cause the aneurysm to grow at a faster pace, requiring precise care and additional time in the operating room. To cure Jerry’s aneurysms, Dr. Yahagi had to place 7 stents through a one-inch surgical incision. The minimally invasive surgery kept Jerry tucked in a hospital bed for one night before returning home the next day.

“When I went back for my last check up, he told me I look alright and told me I didn’t have to come back no more,” said Upshaw.