As an interventional cardiologist, I specialize in doing procedures which involve placing stents into blocked arteries to save lives and improve symptoms. On this page, I’ve put examples of some of the patients I’ve had the privilege of treating.
When someone is having chest pain, one of the most feared causes is a heart attack. The muscles in our body get blood pumped to them from the heart. Just like any other muscle in the body, the heart also has arteries which supply it with blood too. A heart attack happens when that blood supply to the heart is compromised. Heart attacks are classified broadly into STEMIs and NSTEMIs. A STEMI is a medical emergency, diagnosed with an electrocardiogram, where a heart artery is completely blocked, and we have 90 minutes from the time someone comes to the emergency department to open the artery with balloons and stents.
The first example is a person I met when he came into the emergency department with crushing chest pain and was diagnosed with a STEMI. He had a 100% blocked left anterior descending artery (LAD). The LAD is a big artery which supplies about 40% of the heart muscle with blood.
On the left, the arrow points to the LAD. It ends abruptly in a stump because the rest of it is blocked because of clot. I was able to remove the clot and open the artery, and the picture of the right shows how big the artery actually is, going down the entire front wall of the heart. As soon as the artery was opened, he had relief from his chest pain.
The next few examples are patients whose heart arteries weren’t 100% blocked, but they had blockages that narrowed the arteries bad enough to cause them symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or fatigue.
On the left you can see that the left anterior descending artery is 99% blocked. The picture on the right is after it was opened with a stent.
The next two patients had bad blockages in their right coronary artery, which supplies the bottom wall of the heart. I opened those arteries, and when I saw them in clinic for follow-up, their symptoms were completely gone.
Sometimes people get open heart bypass surgery to treat their heart arteries. But these bypass grafts can also get blockages. This patient had 2 blockages in one of his bypass grafts that I opened with stents.
Like the heart arteries, any artery in the body can have develop atherosclerosis and blockages. In the carotid arteries that are in the neck, these blockages can cause stroke. Opening the artery with a stent is the treatment. Here is an example of a patient I treated his carotid artery. On the left you can see that the artery is almost completely blocked. After placing a stent, it is widely open.
Severe blockages In the leg arteries can cause people to feel leg pain or leg tiredness.
Here, is a patient who couldn’t walk more that half-a-block before having to stop because of leg pain. He had severe blockages in both of his iliac arteries, which are big arteries that supply blood to the legs, and are located in the abdominal area behind the belly button. On the right, you can see the improvement after putting in stents on both sides. The stents are big enough that you can actually see the metallic mesh of the stent in the picture on the right.
The arteries supply blood to the body, which supply oxygen and other nutrients to the body that allow for wounds to heal. In this example, this patient had an ulcer on the heal of his foot that wouldn’t get better. He had a long blockage in his posterior tibial artery. I opened it up with balloons. And when I saw him 2 weeks later, his ulcer was completely better.