Gagan Deep Kaur, 21, was brought to Delhi last month from Ferozpur in Punjab as she would not stop coughing. Her incessant coughing resulted in severe chest pain and difficulty in breathing.
The problem was diagnosed as a constriction in the windpipe, which had been propped open by a metallic stent implantation a year ago. The stent had slipped from its original location and begun to scar tissues, which used to cause her cough and pain.
An X-ray showed that the stent had slipped down to the carina — the area separating the openings of the right and left lungs — which had been triggering the cough and pain.
As Kaur was three months’ pregnant, doctors at New Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital used video endoscopy instead of CT-scan to determine the exact position of the stent inside the windpipe.
Since there was no other option but to remove the stent to avoid lung infection, doctors used rigid bronchoscopy to avoid damaging the windpipe. During bronchoscopy, a non-surgical technique, a steel pipe was passed through her mouth into the airway under general anaesthesia. Optical alligator forceps were used to pull out the stent in one piece.
“There was a great risk of injury and perforation of the main wind pipe (trachea) while taking the stent out. This could have even resulted in death. The procedure needed great precision but with sophisticated equipment at our disposal, we were able to successfully treat her,” said Dr Rakesh K Chawla, senior consultant in respiratory medicine, critical care and sleep disorder at the hospital, who performed the hour-long procedure.
“It was a rare procedure because placing a stent is very easy. But removing it becomes difficult as the stent assimilates with the trachea,” he added.
Kaur was discharged a day after the procedure on October 26. “The cough and the sputum are completely gone. The chest pain has also reduced considerably. I feel much better now. I am happy I could be treated without any risk to my baby,” said Kaur, who is now back home in Ferozpur.