AN “ACTIVE” 61-year-old died after complications during a routine operation at the Countess of Chester Hospital, an inquest heard.
Shirley McStay, of Long Lane, Upton, died on April 7 last year, one month after a routine angioplasty – an operation to put stents to open up narrowed arteries to improve blood flow – caused a perforation in the artery which eventually led to death from multiple organ failure.
Daughter Melanie McStay told the inquest, held in Warrington yesterday, her mother was a “strong lady” with an active life who worked as a shop assistant.
She said: “She was busy all the time. She enjoyed living her life as she wanted. She was a member of a gym in Hoole and went swimming a lot. She was generally very active and wouldn’t complain very much.”
The coroner for Cheshire, Nicholas Rheinberg, read a statement from Mrs McStay’s GP, Dr Angelika Stephenson, which said Mrs McStay was suffering from increasing pain in her legs after she walked short distances and she was diagnosed with claudication in 2007 – pain and cramping in the legs after exercise which is caused by blocking of the arteries.
In 2007 she was offered the angioplasty operation but at that time refused. But in 2012 the pain began to get worse and she elected to have the operation.
It aimed to increase the diameter of her two major arteries into her legs, the iliac arteries, just before they merged into the aorta.
Interventionalist radiologist Dr Bilal Shafi, who performed the angioplasty on Mrs McStay on March 7 last year using a local anaesthetic, said the procedure was made more complicated as Mrs McStay was a smoker and had high blood pressure. But he was experienced at carrying out the procedure.
Dr Shafi said he started the procedure at 10am and 15 minutes later there was a power cut which meant the procedure was halted until the back-up generator booted up five minutes later. He said he had asked Mrs McStay and his staff if they wanted to continue after the power cut and everyone was happy to do so.
Dr Shafi then said he put the stents in place in the left and right iliac arteries and the left had a much improved blood flow, but the right did not so he tried to place another stent in place. He noticed a tear in the right iliac artery which went into the bottom of the aorta, causing a drop in blood pressure.
He said looking at the images taken at the time the perforation occurred after the first attempt to place the stent, but as the balloon was still inflated there was little bleeding until the second stent was positioned.
Mrs McStay was then taken into emergency theatre where vascular surgeon Dr Arun Balakrishnan repaired the tear in the artery which, he said, was “complex” and a type of tear only seen “once or twice in a career”.
The inquest heard Mrs McStay was then taken into post operative care and one day later into intensive care where she improved slightly before she died of multiple organ failure after massive internal bleeding caused by necrosis of the bowel.
Dr Rheinberg concluded Mrs McStay died of misadventure on April 7, 2013 as a result of the unintended consequences of an intended act on March 7.