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Interview 27

Age at interview: 84
Brief Outline: He had multiple TIAs from the age 81. Within a year he had bilateral carotid endarterectomies which were successful. Medication' lisinopril, bendrofluazide, atenolol (blood pressure), simvastatin (cholesterol), aspirin (antiplatelet).
Background: Is a widower with 5 adult children. He is a retired maintenance engineer. Ethnic background/nationality' White/Welsh.

More about me...

This man had multiple transient ischaemic attacks or mini strokes from the age of 81 he is now 84. During the attacks he experienced visual disturbances, tingling in his fingers and loss of speech. 

He was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was referred to have a scan of the carotid arteries that carry blood to the brain through the neck. The left was found to be blocked and he was offered surgery to remove the blockage. After discussing the risks with the doctor he decided to go ahead. The operation took place under local anaesthetic and sedatives. During the operation he unfortunately had some problems with his heart and had to be resuscitated. He subsequently went on to have a pacemaker fitted. 

Three month after the first operation he started having TIAs again and the hospital discovered that the artery on the right of his neck had also become blocked. The second operation went well and since then he has had no further TIAs. He has no regrets about deciding to have the surgery as the out come has been positive and reduced his risk of having a full stroke.

He now takes medication to help prevent a further stroke including lisinopril, bendrofluazide and atenolol to control his blood pressure; simvastatin to reduce cholesterol and aspirin to prevent clotting. He has also changed his lifestyle and now eats well and exercises regularly.

 

He had frequent transient ischaemic attacks which caused temporary dizziness, hand weakness and...

He had frequent transient ischaemic attacks which caused temporary dizziness, hand weakness and...

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Well, it started in 2003 when I was 82 and it started with small ischemic attacks affecting my eyes and movement of my hand and small things made me feel a little bit dizzy, faint. So later on, I took normal things, aspirin, this, that and the other, later on it developed and got worse. For instance, I was driving along and I'd get a partial vision blank. If I happened to look at a person in the face, I could only see half of the face and reading, I could only see the first part of a word. That lasted, to start off, 5 minutes and then back to normal.

 

A carotid Doppler scan of neck arteries revealed that surgery may help to restore blood flow and...

A carotid Doppler scan of neck arteries revealed that surgery may help to restore blood flow and...

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You mentioned that you had a scan of your carotid artery. Could you describe to me what the scan was like?

You just like down and they put the, put the cream on your, on your neck and they, they rubbed this thing over and I could see the, the, the screen, the picture on the screen, they were moving it about and they were taking shots and recording of it and that was painless and the girl was quite informative. She told me everything what, what they were doing and, of course, they look at, the doc, the specialists look at these and decided that an operation was necessary to clear the artery out because of build up, of obstruction in there. 

 

During his first carotid endarterectomy he had a problem with his heart and needed to be...

During his first carotid endarterectomy he had a problem with his heart and needed to be...

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Well, it started in 2003 when I was 82 and it started with small ischemic attacks affecting my eyes and movement of my hand and small things made me feel a little bit dizzy, faint. So later on, I took normal things, aspirin, this, that and the other, later on it developed and got worse. For instance, I was driving along and I'd get a partial vision blank. If I happened to look at a person in the face, I could only see half of the face and reading, I could only see the first part of a word. That lasted, to start off, 5 minutes and then back to normal. 

Then of course that gradually got worse and I went to see the doc, went to hospital and they did a scan check of my carotid in my neck on the left side and they found that there was an obstruction there, so 6 months later when the appointment came up, they carried out an operation on my left carotid in my neck and a endarterectomy and while I was under the operation and it was a it was partial, just a small injection to make me feel a bit sleepy and I could hear everything they were saying and the object of the exercise was if , if there was anything that I could tell them, I still could talk. So halfway through the operation, they said they were, I could listen to them handing over to another doctor to do this, that and the other and then I said my right arm was getting numb. 'Can you move your fingers?' 'No.' 'Can you move your right leg?' 'No.' Then I blacked out. I came round at 2 o'clock in the morning in bed in a ward all wired up and there was a big bruise on my chest where he gave me a thump to start my heart going again and I recovered quite good from that. 

Before you went into the operation, did they, can you tell me about any of the discussions that you had with the doctors? Did they tell, did they discuss the risks that might be involved in the operation?

Yes. I asked, I asked them point blank, 'What's the, what's the percentage risk of me dying?' And they said it was 95% successful, so I thought, 'Well, that's good odds, carry on'. 

So when you'd had the problems during the operation, how did you feel about that after?

Well, first, first, well I thought, 'Well I'm lucky to be alive' and secondly I thought, 'Well, they did their best' in fact, I was very, very pleased about, about it all, especially now, a year later when I feel perfectly alright. Perfectly normal person.

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