Man Facing “Certain Death” Saved By Lenox Hill Hospital Physicians

A man facing “certain death” due to a complex, life-threatening heart ailment was successfully treated by a team of world-class cardiac experts within just three hours of arriving at Lenox Hill Hospital. The patient was brought in while in the midst of a severe heart attack but was quickly diagnosed with a rare, often lethal complication – a myocardial rupture, a tear in the muscle layer of the heart. While most people who experience this condition following a heart attack do not survive, the adeptness, agility and collaboration of the Lenox Hill cardiac team helped save this patient’s life and get him back to his everyday routine within days.
Seventy-nine year-old Fidelio Nunez, of Brooklyn, NY, was transferred to Lenox Hill from another hospital, so he could receive an emergency angioplasty to treat a complete blockage of a major coronary artery. Doctors immediately noticed that despite efforts to get him stabilized, Mr. Nunez’s condition was quickly deteriorating.
“Mr. Nunez was put on several medications for stabilization before he was transferred, but even with this support, his blood pressure suggested that he was barely alive,” said David Coven, MD, PhD, director of the cardiac care unit at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Dr. Coven’s team performed an echocardiogram and discovered a tear within the left ventricle of Mr. Nunez’s heart that was causing fluid to accumulate around the heart and compress it. If not treated rapidly, the condition causes blood pressure to plummet and the patient can die within hours. Within minutes Mr. Nunez was transported to the operating room for emergency bypass surgery where Nirav Patel, MD, vice chairman of cardiothoracic surgery and director of robotic cardiac surgery, quickly repaired the rupture.
A myocardial rupture following a severe heart attack has an exceedingly high mortality rate and may lead to certain death if not immediately treated. Mr. Nunez’s survival and return to living a normal life within days can be attributed to swift diagnosis and action by the Lenox Hill cardiac team.
“Most of the time this is fatal, but a timely transfer and timely recognition by the cardiologists were the key factors in Mr. Nunez’s survival,” said Dr. Patel. “Because our team in on watch 24/7, we were able to save him.”



About Lenox Hill Hospital
Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation’s top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to