Thursday, May 6, 2010

Loyola Brain Surgery Patient Thanks Surgical Team with Texas Style Barbecue

"The way I show my appreciation is through food"

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Peter Vanda checked into Loyola University Hospital Feb. 24 for a complex brain surgery to repair a life-threatening aneurysm.

Dr. John Whapham used a minimally invasive technique that enabled Vanda to go home after just one night in the hospital.

Vanda is so pleased with the result that he has invited Whapham's entire surgical team for a May 8 barbeque at his Lockport restaurant, Ooga Booga Bar-Ba-Q.

The menu includes baby back ribs, smoked burgers, pulled pork, smoked corned beef, Ooga Booga slaw and buttermilk pie.

"I love to watch people eat," Vanda said. "The way I show my appreciation is through food."

Vanda was referred to Loyola after he was diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm, a weak spot in a brain blood vessel that balloons out and fills with blood. About 6 million Americans -- 1 in 50 people -- have brain aneurysms that could rupture. Each year, aneurysms burst in about 25,000 people, and most die or suffer permanent disabilities, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

Vanda's aneurysm, located in the middle of his head, was roughly one-fourth inch across. The bulging artery could have burst at any time and caused a debilitating or fatal stroke.

Whapham used a minimally invasive technique that's becoming more common in brain surgery, but requires advanced expertise. Whapham inserted a catheter (thin tube) in an artery in Vanda's leg and guided it up to his brain. The catheter released nine tiny platinum coils into the bulging aneurysm. During the delicate procedure, Whapham placed a stent (wire mesh tube) across the aneurysm opening so the coils would stay in place. Filling the aneurysm with coils caused the blood to clot, effectively sealing the aneurysm. "It's like filling a bathtub with concrete," Whapham said.

Vanda went home the next morning with a Band Aid on his leg. "I feel so lucky that I was able to come to Loyola to get this done," Vanda said. "All the people were genuinely nice."

The technique Whapham used, called "stent-assisted coiling," is an alternative to traditional brain surgery. In the traditional technique, called a surgical craniotomy, a surgeon removes a section of the skull and places a clip on the aneurysm.

Whapham is part of a new generation of neurologists who are using minimally invasive catheters to repair aneurysms, open clogged arteries, extract blood clots and repair blood vessel malformations in the brain. He also opens blocked carotid arteries in the neck.

Vanda, 58, is a long-haul trucker, and has spent 30 years sampling barbecue restaurants and talking to owners. He operates Ooga Booga (which means "Hurry Up!") with his partner Bill Mengarelli. They barbecue Texas style and Southern style.

"I feel good when I'm feeding people," Vanda said. "I'm Polish and Russian. It's all about the food."

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.