In June 2004, Brian Hodder, a 74-year-old retired farmer in New Zealand, noticed symptoms of wheezing when he lay on his left side in bed and a slight but persistent cough. About to leave on an eight-week overseas vacation with his wife Lois, Brian visited his family physician, who diagnosed him with asthma and gave him an inhaler to ease the symptoms.
By the second week of his vacation tour, Brian experienced trouble keeping up with the group, and his cough and wheezing continued to worsen. When he returned to his hometown, a local cardiothoracic surgeon finally uncovered the mystery: an inoperable heart tumor in the left pulmonary artery. Brian’s family braced itself for what appeared to be the inevitable end.
Hope and a Challenge
Meanwhile, Brian’s niece had found information on cardiac tumor treatments at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. It took a push from his family physician, but Brian eventually contacted Dr. Michael Reardon. Because Brian’s condition was covered by the New Zealand national health service, Dr. Reardon made the trip to perform the operation along with his colleague Dr. David Rice of M.D. Anderson.
The two surgeons utilized an innovative method that allowed completion of the left pneumonectomy with resection of the main pulmonary artery and partial resection of the right pulmonary artery.
Before the surgery took place, the doctors found that Brian had triple vessel coronary artery obstructive disease. They were able to restore functionality to the left lung by separating the inferior pulmonary ligament and both of the pulmonary veins near the heart allowing complete mobilization of the lung.
A triple-vessel coronary bypass was administered on Brian without cardiac arrest, and the final pathology revealed the pulmonary artery angiosarcoma was free of tumors. Today, Brian is living well and free of disease.
Read more patient stories:
- Jesse Aldrich
- Susan Dickson
- Felicia Galloway
- Henry Ham
- Rose Joubert
- Kurt Salziger
- Mark Staudt
- Gilbert Swagger
- J. Rob Walker
- Ronny Yon
For more information about the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, please call 713-DEBAKEY (332-2539) or complete our online contact us form.