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18 years after her first surgery at age 3, a patient with a rare condition returned to Dr. Messina for a second life-saving procedure

1998 - First Bypass Surgery

In 1998, Dr. Messina was a vascular surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco when he performed a bypass on 3-year-old Katy Drennan, who suffered from a rare aortic condition.  He saved her life by inserting a graft to repair her aorta in a risky surgery.   Drennan was born with middle aortic syndrome, a disease found in less than 1 in 100,000 people, Messina estimated. The first surgery was only expected to last about 10 years.  Messina leads the only team in the northeast that can perform this surgery.

Drennan and Dr. Messina before her first surgery when she was 3-years-old.

2016 - Second Bypass Surgery

18 years later, the 21 year old woman flew across the country from San Francisco top Worcester, MA to have the surgery done for a second time.  A larger graft was sewn and tunneled through the abdomen, to the aorta below the kidneys.  "If left untreated, it's a life-threatening condition," Messina said. "We had to put a bypass around the main aorta to restore normal blood flow to her arteries and kidneys."

The story made national headlines. Here is the video from WCVB-5 Boston.

Successful Once Again

The second surgery well and without any complications.  Drennan flew back home to California less than a week after the operation.  After this surgery, she should not require another repair for the rest of her life.  "I'll always be grateful that he was able to do this and fix it again," Drennan said.


 Dr. Messina explaining the two surgeries to a very grateful Katy Drennan.