Local Pastor Makes Comeback After Aortic Tear - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Local Pastor Makes Comeback After Aortic Tear

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    Local Pastor Makes Comeback After Aortic Tear

    Minimally-invasive procedure gets pastor back on his bicycle weeks after a major cardiac event. (Published Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018)

    A North Texas pastor is living proof of the marvels of modern medicine.  

    Ralph Gourley suffered a major cardiac event that could have meant open heart surgery and a months long recovery, but Gourley was back on his bicycle weeks after a large tear in the aorta of his heart almost killed him.

    He was airlifted from his home in Muenster, Texas to Texas Health Dallas, where doctors were able to perform a minimally invasive procedure called TEVAR that allows them to go through a catheter in his leg to repair the aortic tear.

    Gourley was out of the hospital three days after the procedure and good as new.

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    “An aortic dissection can happen suddenly, and it can end fatally,” said Dr. Brandon Hill, a cardiothoracic surgeon on the Texas Health Dallas medical staff. 

    “In Gourley’s case, we were able to make a small incision in his right leg using a catheter with a stent graft attached to it. With the aid of X-ray technology, we thread the stent graft near his torn artery wall. Once the stent is in place, we expand it, creating a new channel for proper blood flow.”

    "At my two week check up, he looked me over and he said, 'get on your bike whenever you're ready,' and so I did a short 9 mile ride probably right at two months after my surgery," says Gourley.

    Last weekend, he rode 62 miles in a single trip.

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