Because Robert was still having problems with his arrhythmia—episodes would sometimes wake him up at night—he saw cardiac electrophysiologist Jason Chinitz, MD, in the fall of 2017 for a cardiac ablation, a procedure that pinpoints and destroys an area of cardiac tissue that is causing the irregular heart rhythm. “It helped tremendously, but I still had some episodes,” said Robert, adding that this is why Dr. Chinitz recommended a second ablation in February of 2019 because he had more arrhythmias coming from a different part of his heart. The procedure worked like a charm—no more arrhythmias—but Dr. Chinitz noticed something else that was concerning.
As Dr. Chinitz was moving the catheter through an artery in the thigh and toward the heart chamber, he felt a pulsating in Robert’s stomach. “He thought this was really suspicious—it turned out to be an abdominal aortic aneurysm,” said Robert. “It was one of the largest aneurysms the doctors had ever seen.”
Luis Davila-Santini, MD, recommended using a minimally invasive approach for endovascular abdominal aortic repair (EVAR). Rather than making a small incision in the groin, Dr. Santini performed the procedure through needle access to thread a catheter that would deliver a stent to the abdominal aneurysm, supporting the aorta and creating a new path for blood flow.
Through it all, Robert has been working closely with his primary cardiologist, Jean Cacciabaudo, MD, and relies on her advice. Despite being in and out of the hospital over the years, Robert refuses to give up on life, or enjoying it. He’s always made his family and his interests a priority. “While all this is going on, your life is continuing,” said Robert. “Both my kids got engaged. In fact, I was in the hospital just before my daughter got married, and the staff all knew that I had to dance with her at the wedding.”
Today, his approach to life is thinking about which activities will contribute to his rehabilitation. “When it’s not rehabilitative, I try not to do it,” said Robert. As a result, he has cut back on his hours working as a lawyer in family court and carefully listens to his body. “I don’t have a problem lying down for half an hour if I need to.” He also makes time for exercise, working out at the gym five days a week and goes sailing with his friend. “The Great South Bay is just absolutely stunning to be on. It’s great being out there in the sun.”