A Perth mother died nearly two years after a stomach banding operation which resulted in her dress size shrinking from 22 to 14 but apparently led to complications that claimed her life, a Perth inquest was told yesterday.
Opening the hearing into the death of Katina Levissianos, counsel assisting the deputy coroner Kate Ellson said the inquest would explore issues including communication between the 55-year-old's GPs and surgeon and the adequacy of the information she was given after the gastric banding procedure.
The inquest is the second in Perth in six months involving a weight reduction operation.
"Given the large number of gastric banding operations that are performed each year, an important function of this inquest will be to highlight ways in which communication between patients, their surgeons and general practitioners can be improved with a view to preventing other deaths," Ms Ellson told Deputy Coroner Evelyn Vicker.
Ms Ellson said Mrs Levissianos was described by her husband as a "chatterbox with a bubbly personality" who would help anybody.
But she said Mrs Levissianos had concerns about her weight, including signs she was developing diabetes, and raised the issue with one of her two GPs, Dr William Diamond, in March 2007.
At the time she was seen by her surgeon, Dr Anthony Kierath, in January 2008, she was at least 60 per cent above her recommended body weight and had a body mass index of about 47.
After a laproscopic adjustable band insertion in February 2008, Mrs Levissianos' weight fell from 106kg to 70kg in the following six months. Mrs Levissianos became unwell and complained of being dizzy after attending a party on October 31. Ms Ellson said Mrs Levissianos had stayed in bed with the belief she was developing a cold.Mrs Levissianos was found dead on November 4. An autopsy found obstruction at the site of her gastric band device and concluded the cause of death was aspiration of gastric contents in association with gastric necrosis, or dead tissue.
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