Rex Haw

It is a disease that is a silent killer

It comes as a shock when you find out it is something really serious and not just a kidney infection or even back pain

Rex Haw spent more than two decades reporting on other people's life and death dramas - now he's the story... and it's the most important he's ever had to tell.Rex was diagnosed with an aneurism - a life threatening condition that is believed to claim more than 1000 lives in australia every year.. they're so dangerous because most people don't know they've got one until it's too late.

Dr Brendan Stanley

It's a very lethal disese but if we can pick the aneurism up early before it's ruptured we can then repair it with a very low mortality and a very high success rate

Vascular surgeon Dr Brendan Stanley says if left un-diagnosed aneurisms can rupture. If that happens as few as 10% of patients will survive.

Dr Brendan Stanley

The death rate from ruptured aneurisms is probably higher than the mortality from motor vehicle accidents around asutralia so it's a significant killer of people

Like most patients Rex Haw's aneurism went un-dianosed ... it was only discovered by accident after back pain led to a scan for a suspected kidney infection

The report came back nothing wrong with his back but thereis an aneurism in his stomach aabout 4.2cm i think it was from memory that required urgetn surgery well actually teh report said 6cm when they finally did a check it was only 4cm

Most or our aneurisms are picked up accidently by GP's who are investigating their pateints again usually their male patients for some vague abdominal or back pain and they've organised an ultrasound or possiblyeven a back x-ray just like rex and the aneurism gets picked up there

an aneurism is a ballooning of an artery which stretches the wall sometimes to breaking point... in Rex's case it was an aoritc aneurism one of the largest arteries in teh body

If that bursts I've been told you can be dead before you hit the floor

Fortunately Rex's aneurism was discovered and monitored until it was time to undergo life-saving surgery.... once a major surgical procedure... ( medical animation ) now a stent is inserted into the artery using a catheter.. once in position the catheter is slowly removed releasing the stent which reinforces the artery wall.. sometimes more than one is used depending on the size or shape of the aneurism..

With the new procedure with teh stent fraft they're usually out of hospital within two to three days and they're back to their normal duties within a week it is minimally invaisive proceedure for aortic aneurism repair compared the old large open operation

Sadly too many people never make it to surgery in the first place because their aneurisms go undiagnosed until it's too late... the high risk group is men over 65 and all it takes is a simple check by ultra-sound... it could save your life.

There are fisk factors we know about for aneurisms and those risk factors are smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and also being a male

If an aneurism is discovered it's usually a case of keeping an eye on it - Making a day once a year for a check-up.

Melbourne cup day I knew it was always going to be a gamble. Hadn't picked a winner since that's the only winner I've picked

His aneurism is completely fixed and he's been one of the lucky few that have been found before they burst.