“Dr. Easow actually called us at home and reiterated how important it was I went for the catheterization,” says George. “The personalized attention was assuring and comforting. After our discussion, I decided to take his advice.”
It was a crucial decision that ended up saving George’s life.
During the procedure with Dr. Stanley Katz—an interventional cardiologist at Peconic Bay Medical Center—it was discovered that plaque in George’s arteries had hardened into calcium, causing four severe blockages in his heart. Bypass surgery wasn’t an option due to his past chemotherapy, and the calcium buildup was so bad that Dr. Katz couldn’t put stents in.
More resources were needed, so he decided to transfer George via ambulance to Southside Hospital, which is among the top 10 percent in the U.S. for coronary interventional procedures in 2018, according to Healthgrades. There, he’d be treated by Dr. Puneet Gandotra, vice chair of cardiology at Southside Heart & Lung.
“Dr. Katz held my hand and assured me that Dr. Gandotra is one of the best in this field and would take good care of my husband,” says Cindy. “His confidence and approachability helped keep me and George calm during a scary and uncertain time.”
George arrived at Southside, where Dr. Gandotra performed the first of what would be a two-part procedure the following morning. He used advanced minimally invasive techniques—only available at hospitals with proven expertise—so he could clear the first two arteries and place stents without having to open George’s chest. Due to the severity of the blockages (which the doctor says are usually seen in patients in their 80s), it was a long and intricate procedure, but everything went well. Thanks to the minimally invasive approach, George had minimal pain and scarring and was able to leave the hospital the very next day. “Within a few days of being home, I was feeling good,” he says.
George’s remaining blockage was a chronic total occlusion, an artery that is 100 percent blocked. Southside is one of the only centers in New York that has the ability to open these types of blockages. One February day, as a snow storm was brewing, the team at Southside trekked in to make sure George received his second and final procedure. Although challenging, the artery was successfully opened.
George was able to return home, where he had a smooth recovery. He’s back to exercising regularly, including walking three miles a day. He’ll continue having checkups with Dr. Gandotra twice a year, all the while enjoying a normal, healthy life. He’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife, as well as their four kids and 12 grandkids.