The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Young Ben’s treatment is world first for Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ trauma team

11 September 2015

A seven-year-old boy from Pontefract is the youngest person in the world to have had a pioneering type of minimally invasive procedure to treat a serious aortic injury he suffered in a road accident.

Ben Kelly was rushed to the major trauma centre at Leeds General Infirmary at the end of July after being involved in a serious traffic accident in East Yorkshire.

He had sustained multiple injuries in the accident the most serious of which damaged his aorta – the main artery of the body. He also had a broken pelvis and broken arm.

The trauma centre In Leeds is the specialist centre for children from across the Yorkshire and Humber region. When Ben arrived his injuries were identified and doctors monitored its progress over an initial 24-hour period.

A repeat CT scan revealed the tear in his aorta was progressing, and potentially threatening his life, so it was decided to treat the aortic tear.

An emergency multidisciplinary meeting was held involving vascular interventional radiology, paediatric cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery and paediatric interventional cardiology from across the Leeds Teaching Hospitals.  It was decided to treat Ben by a minimally invasive endovascular technique normally used in adults or older children using a covered stent inserted through the blood vessel in the groin and guided by X-rays.

A 20-strong team, led by Dr Sapna Puppala, who also performed the minimally invasive procedure, came together from five different specialities. Also present was a visiting paediatric cardiologist from London. They successfully performed the delicate procedure, which took two hours due to the need for such precise positioning.

Dr Puppala said: “Given the nature of Ben’s injuries we needed to act fast and were in agreement that Ben would benefit from a technique which up until now has only been performed on adults or children above 10 years of age.

 “Aged just seven, Ben is the youngest patient in the world to have his aortic trauma treated using an endovascular technique. He is also the first child to be treated with this particular stent for trauma.

“The procedure went very smoothly and was a fantastic example of team work and is testament to the range of skills and expertise available here in Leeds to treat the most seriously injured children from around the region.”

Ben left the hospital at the end of August and is continuing his recovery at home – he will now be closely monitored to ensure his progress continues.