81-year-old woman receives pioneering heart procedure at St. Francis Hospital

81-year-old woman receives pioneering heart procedure at St. Francis Hospital
Dorothy Lutgen received the cutting-edge cardiac procedure SESAME at St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center, one of three facilities offering the procedure. (Photo courtesy of St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center)

Cardiologists at St. Francis Hospital’s Heart Center in Roslyn successfully performed a pioneering cardiac procedure called SESAME for an 81-year-old woman, the first time the procedure was conducted in the Northeast.

SESAME is a non-invasive catheter treatment for heart repair through advanced novel techniques and specialized imaging. It was developed by Jaffar Khan, director of Interventional Electro-Surgery at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center, and individuals from the National Institutes of Health and Emory University. The procedure is currently only offered at three healthcare facilities.

“This innovative therapy gives us an opportunity to save more lives through minimally invasive technology and clinical expertise,” Charles Lucore, president of St. Francis Hospital, said. “Our cardiologists and clinical staff are among the best in their field, advancing cardiac procedures so patients can heal and recover, getting back to their lives.”

Khan said the imaging technology allows the physician to see where they are as they cut along the heart’s septal area – a wall that separates the right and left ventricles in the heart.

“This is one of the most promising therapies in interventional cardiology, allowing for greater precision than traditional treatment options,” Khan said.

SESAME is a less invasive alternative to open heart surgery, which lends to a diminished recovery process after the treatment.

The treatment was provided for Dorothy Lutgen, an 81-year-old woman from Stony Brook who suffers from mitral valve disease with advanced mitral annular calcification, two conditions that affect the heart’s ability to pump blood.

Traditionally this medical condition would be treated through open heart surgery. Due to Lutgen’s age and condition, she is considered to be high-risk and ineligible for open heart surgery.

“Our patient had no other options,” Khan said. “There are only three hospitals on the planet that offer this treatment, and St. Francis is the only one in the Northeast.”

Lutgen underwent two procedures – SESAME and LAMPOON – which were conducted six weeks apart.

In April, Lutgen received the SESAME procedure, which opened her left ventricle for increased blood outflow. Then in late May she underwent the LAMPOON procedure in which two catheters are inserted through the patient’s groin and blood vessels and fed up until they reach the heart.

Khan said the combination of the two procedures enables space for more blood flow through the outflow of the heart’s chamber. Khan also aided in the development of the LAMPOON procedure.

After Lutgen’s LAMPOON procedure, she was able to go home the following day. She said she is looking forward to enjoying her garden again.

Lutgen said she is grateful for the procedures and the care of St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center.

“Everything was so positive,” Lutgen said. “The entire staff knew who I was and answered all my questions. The nursing staff could not have been better! I have never met such caring people in my entire life.”

Khan worked alongside St. Francis Hospital’s expert physicians to conduct Lutgen’s procedure, including the Chairman of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and co-chair of St. Francis Hospital’s structural heart program Newell Robinson, co-chair of St. Francis Hospital’s structural heart program George Petrossian, Director of Cardiovascular Imaging Omar Khalique, Director of Advanced Echocardiography Lin Wang and interventional cardiologist William Chung.

The procedure also utilized state-of-the-art technology available at the hospital.

Khan said the hospital’s combination of expertise and infrastructure was central to the procedure and provided the foundation for Lutgen’s procedure team to perform with “great agility.”

St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center is the only ACC HeartCARE Center designated facility in the region, including New York City’s five boroughs, Long Island and Westchester. The facility recently garnered the designation by The American College of Cardiology.

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