Structural Health Center helps high risk patients

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The risk of heart disease increases with age, but advanced age also puts patients at risk for adverse surgical outcomes.

A team of specialists at Mt. Sinai Medical Center is helping improve the quality of life for these patients.

For most of his life, Peter Eigo had no health issues, but in his later years, the 89 year old developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which compounded problems with his heart.

“Probably about 20 years ago, the cardiologist said you’ve got heart failure, which is an awful word,” he said.

As a result, he had difficulty breathing but because of his age and health, Eigo was told there was nothing doctors could do.

Then he met cardiologist Dr. Nitrate Beohar, of the Mt. Sinai Structural Heart Center, where a team of specialists collaborated on Eigo’s care.

“So, this would typically include interventional cardiologists-people that work with catheter-based treatments, cardiac surgeons, imaging specialists-the ones that do the ultrasound of the heart and CT scans and MRI’s and also others like heart failure specialists,” said Beohar.

In Eigo’s case, the team decided to use a small clip to close a leaky mitral valve.

“Which on this heart is the valve right here,” Beohar said pointing to a model of a heart. “It lets the blood in from the lungs back to the top part and the bottom part and then it’s pumped out of the body so every time his heart squeezed the blood would actually leak back toward the lungs making him very short of breath,” he said.

Eigo went through the procedure with no complications.

“Right away I noticed improvement in my breathing, so it was a big relief to me,” he said.

And a big relief to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

“And I just keep plugging along,” Eigo said.

The Structural Heart Center also treats patients from Latin America and the Caribbean where advanced cardiovascular care can be difficult to access.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.