Pooja Bhist (26) always wanted to be an engineer. But an illness that plagued her for 18 years was proving to be a hurdle.
Bhist was barely eight when she first vomited blood.
The vomiting persisted and soon she was diagnosed with portal hypertension, a condition caused by a blood clot in the portal vein that supplies blood from the heart through the spleen to the liver.
The Dehradun resident continued to live with the problem until last week when she was operated up on at Mulund’s Fortis Hospital.
“The clot causes the blood to flow back to the spleen and excess blood also flows into connecting veins of the food pipe and the stomach. When too much blood collects in the veins, the blood pressure builds up and the veins in the food pipe burst, causing the patient to vomit blood,” said the hospital’s head of the surgical gastroenterology department, Dr S.K. Mathur, who operated on Bhist on June 29.
The condition is curable in its early stages through endotherapy — the procedure uses endoscopy to attach rubber bands in the affected veins to block them. But Bhist, who had a severe case, required a surgery.
“A bypass is created to divert blood from the liver’s portal vein to a kidney vein. The diverted blood doesn’t affect other veins in the food pipe and so vomiting stops,” said Dr Mathur.
“I used to be very weak after vomiting and would need regular blood transfusions. The condition worsened after 2006 when I started vomiting blood every two months,” said Bhist.
She read about the surgical procedure in a newspaper and convinced her parents to bring her to Mumbai. “They had lost hope but I pleaded with them to give it another try,” she said. “I managed to finish my MSc. Now, I want to give my engineering career another shot,” said Bhist.