AN ex-miner said he feels like he has been ‘left to die’ by the NHS who are refusing to operate on his aneurysm - which he describes as a ‘time bomb’ inside of him - due to his weight.

Keith Elsworth, 61, of Lundwood, was told last year that he had an aortic aneurysm which measured six centimetres.

An aneurysm is an abnormal swelling or bulge in the wall of a blood vessel, such as an artery.

Aneurysms can occur anywhere throughout the circulatory system but most commonly develop along the aorta - the body’s main artery that runs the length of the trunk - and in the brain’s blood vessels.

But the issue had been going on for long before last year’s diagnosis.

He told the Chronicle: “It started with some pains in my chest but we’re going back 20 years for that.

“It got to last year and I was short of breath which I knew wasn’t good so I went straight to the hospital.

“They did some tests on me and said I had an aortic aneurysm which was 6cm.

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“I was told that they were going to wait until it was 6.5cm for them to operate on me.”

However, it now measures 7cm and Keith is wary of the devastation it could cause at any minute.

But despite the clear need for urgency, he was told by staff at Northern General Hospital that they will not operate due to his weight.

“They were sending me for ultrasounds every three months to check on it,” he added.

“It’s now reached the size they were waiting for so I had a meeting to see if I was fit enough for the operation.

“That’s when the consultant told me that they weren’t going to go ahead with it.

“I asked them if they were just going to let me die.”

Aneurysms are potentially fatal if they rupture and death can occur within minutes.

Keith is incredibly concerned he could die at a moment’s notice and he claims he was never told there would be complications with his weight - something the service has disputed.

He added: “Why didn’t they tell me about this a year ago when I first was diagnosed?

“My weight has never stopped me from doing anything.

“They said they might lose me if they go forward with the operation - but at least that would be my choice in way of dying.

“I don’t want to be watching TV and it burst.

“They said if I lose some weight then they’ll consider but I’ve got no time left.

“It’s like there’s a bomb inside of me.

“I’d happily take the risk of the operation.

“It could burst today or it could burst in three years - I can feel it inside of me.”

Dr Jennifer Hill, chief medical officer (operations) at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Mr Elsworth has significant risk factors for this operation, which have been carefully considered by the multi-disciplinary clinical team.

“At this time their clinical judgement is that the risks of carrying out the procedure outweigh the risk of Mr Elsworth’s condition.

“One of the risk factors is Mr Elsworth’s weight and very high BMI, which was discussed with him at his initial consultation in 2023 and raised with his GP.

“We understand that this is a worrying time for Mr Elsworth, and his condition is being monitored on an ongoing basis with his next review due shortly.”