LARGO, Fla. — Getting diagnosed with a rare disease is often scary, because it can often be hard finding a doctor trained in that type of care. 

What You Need To Know

  • Neurosurgeon Dr. Abilash Haridas recently performed life-saving cerebral artery surgery, also referred to as brain bypass surgery, for a 40-year-old patient diagnosed with moyamoya

  • This disease, first identified in Japan in the 1950s, is caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain, which can lead to frequent strokes, seizures, headaches, paralysis and vision issues

  • After two surgeries, Ricky Ortiz is home and recovering

  • This rare and complex surgery is now available in the Tampa Bay area

Dr. Abilash Haridas is a neurosurgeon at HCA Florida Largo Hospital. He has dedicated his career to cranial vascular pathology — conditions that affect blood flow to the brain.

“There are four major highways that take blood from your heart to your brain," Haridas said. "There are two carotid arteries in the front and two retrieval arteries in the back. The two highways in the front, the carotid arteries are very, very major highways and when they go into the skull and they start to narrow, that leads to a condition called moyamoya.” 

Moyamoya is a rare disease, and most people have never heard of it. But a local case recently came before Haridas. 

"Good to see you," Haridas said as he walked in a room where his patient was sitting. "Ricky, how are you? Good to see you.”

Ricky Ortiz, 40, was next to his father, Daniel.

“I am happy you are feeling better, and I am happy we were able to help you out in a positive way," said Haridas. 

Ricky lived a normal life until a series of strokes and seizures changed everything. 

“I was concerned because my mom died of vasculitis of the brain, so I thought it was connected somehow," said Ricky. 

“Real scary. Yea scary, as a parent, doesn’t matter how old your kid is. He is 40, but you know as a parent you are constantly worried so," said Daniel. 

Ricky was diagnosed with moyamoya, a condition that leads to blocked arteries in his brain, which caused the strokes. To help him, he needed two brain bypass surgeries. 

Haridas completed both surgeries. 

“This little white area is holding up the blood vessel that we are going to hook up to, and you can see how tiny that vessel is that we are going to hook up to," Haridas said while pointing to a screen with a view of Ricky's surgery. 

The surgery was a success. 

Going forward, Ricky will continue with checkups.