AN elderly woman died from internal bleeding after her renal artery was lacerated during a procedure to spot heart problems, an inquest has heard.
Six pints of blood were removed from Edith Kane's abdomen after she died from complications during a coronary angiography in the RVH, Belfast, on October 3, 2006. The 73-year-old from Maullaghboy Bungalows, Islandmagee, was having the procedure to show the condition of her arteries on an X-ray. She had been urgently referred to the RVH from Antrim Area Hospital after suffering chest problems.
She also suffered hypertension, diabetes and impaired kidney function, as well as coronary artery atheroma. After the procedure she complained of back pain.
Consultant cardiologist at RVH, Dr Carol Wilson, said the guidewire used to insert the tube had gone into the left renal artery. She said there was concern there might be some internal bleeding and a CT scan was requested immediately. Another scan was carried out the next day. However, no other damage to the artery was spotted. Mrs Kane's family wrote to the Coroner's Office raising concerns about post-operative care. But medical notes showed Mrs Kane was under frequent observation by staff.
Deputy State pathologist Dr Alistair Bentley said it was possible the guidewire damaged the artery. He said Mrs Kane had also suffered from heart disease and could have died at any time. Coroner Suzanne Anderson said Mrs Kane died from an intra-abdominal haemorrhage after suffering a laceration of a branch of the left renal artery during coronary angiography, adding it was a recognised but rare complication of the procedure. Mrs Kane's daughter Amanda Johnston said the inquest gave the family "peace of mind".