Compassionate, Cutting-Edge Care Provides Relief to 89-Year-Old Patient

Vol. 18, No. 2
Summer 2008

  • Compassionate, Cutting-Edge Care Provides Relief to 89-Year-Old Patient

  • Winthrop Elects Three New Members to Board of Directors

  • Two Winthrop-University Hospital Physicians Top New York State Lists for Cardiac Care

  • Phyllis & Nathan J. Mistretta Emergency Diagnostic Imaging Center Dedicated at Winthrop

  • RP-7 "Virtual Doctor" Makes it's Debut at Winthrop

  • Congratulations, Top Docs!

  • A Vibrant Research Program at Winthrop

  • Pediatric Bowel Management Program Addresses Unique Needs of Children

  • International Exchange Program Tours Winthrop

  • 23rd Annual Golf Tournament Raises a Record $430,000 for Emergency Services at Winthrop

  • 11th Annual Opera Night Raises $75,000 for Child Life

  • Charlie's Champions Foundation Shows Continued Support for Cancer Center for Kids

  • Community Members Say Yes to Good Health

  • Senator Schumer Hosts Press Conference at Diabetes Education Center

  • 2nd Annual Black & White Ball Raises $300,000 for Cancer Center for Kids

  • Michael Magro Foundation Supports CCFK's School Re-entry Program

  • Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation Helps Make Wishes Come True

  • Winthrop Receives "Found Money"

  • The Miracle Foundation Makes Third Gift of $50,000 to Cancer Center for Kids

  • Swim Laps Go a Long Way in Support of Pediatrics

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    (L.-R.) George L. Hines, MD, Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at Winthrop-University Hospital, with patient Dorothy Verity and her daughter Sharon Fallon.
    Farmingdale resident Dorothy Verity has always been very independent. At 89 years old, Mrs. Verity enjoys living on her own and still drives locally. Recently, her daughter Sharon Fallon accompanied her to a visit with her cardiologist where a large abdominal aortic aneurysm - measuring more than 10 centimeters in size - was discovered on a sonogram.

    The abdominal aorta, which supplies oxygen rich blood to the lower part of the body, is the largest artery in the body. In the abdomen, the abdominal aorta splits into two branches.

    When a weakened area of the abdominal aorta expands, the result is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

    "The doctor's initial thought was that my mother would have to travel to Manhattan to be treated," said Mrs. Fallon. "But then he called to tell us there was a physician at Winthrop-University Hospital with the expertise to provide my mom with the world-class care that she needed. One week later, we met with Dr. George L. Hines, Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at Winthrop."

    Dr. Hines has over 30 years experience as a vascular surgeon, and was recently named to Castle Connolly's "Top Doctors" list. He has also been recognized by the Winthrop Medical Staff with the highly-esteemed Martin Spatz, MD, Award for Medical Excellence. Dr. Hines is renowned for the high quality, attentive care that he consistently delivers to patients. Among Dr. Hines' expertise in treating a range of vascular disorders is the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms with an innovative endovascular graft technique that he was one of the first on Long Island to perform.

    "Abdominal aortic aneurysms are quite common among the older population, especially in those with high blood pressure or who have a direct family history, and they can have serious health implications," said Dr. Hines. "If left untreated, aneurysms can rupture, causing severe internal bleeding and death."

    While early detection is key to the best success in monitoring and treatment, it is not uncommon for AAAs to be detected at a later stage - when they have already grown to five centimeters or larger. For patients such as Mrs. Verity who meet the appropriate anatomic requirements which take into account the size of the aneurysm and other factors, endovascular grafting is a viable option for treatment.

    "Compared to traditional open aneurysm repair, the grafting procedure is less invasive and requires a much shorter hospital stay with quicker recovery time," said Dr. Hines.

    The innovative technique utilizes a fabric covered metallic stent or endograft which is inserted into the AAA without having to make an incision on the abdomen. Instead, an incision is made in the femoral artery at the groin and the surgeon passes a device directly to the site of the aortic aneurysm, where the endograft is placed to protect the area from rupturing. A thin, wireless pressure sensor is also implanted at the site of the aneurysm to monitor any changes in pressure.

    "The pressure sensor device is a step forward in technology," said Dr. Hines. "The device measures how effective the graft is in protecting the aneurysm and can provide valuable insight as to any modifications that may be necessary. It may also decrease the need for post procedure CT scans, thereby decreasing a patient's exposure to radiation."

    After meeting with Dr. Hines and thoroughly discussing all of the options, Mrs. Verity and her daughter agreed that an endovascular graft was the best option for treatment.

    "Some doctors can be hard to talk to, but not Dr. Hines," said Mrs. Fallon. "He really took the time to explain the procedure to us. He even called me personally - on two separate occasions - to answer all of my questions."

    Just weeks ago, Mrs. Verity underwent the procedure at Winthrop and was home recovering in less than 48 hours. Less than three weeks after the surgery, Mrs. Verity is almost back to her normal daily routine and will continue to be monitored by Dr. Hines.

    "My mother's care at Winthrop was top-notch," said Mrs. Fallon. "If my mom can do so well with this procedure at the age of 89, then just imagine how well others can do!"

    Consistent with Winthrop-University Hospital's mission to provide the highest quality patient care, Winthrop's renowned Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery Program is one of the most highly regarded in the state. Man Hon, MD, Chief of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, was instrumental in starting the endovascular graft program at Winthrop, and vascular surgeons Reese A. Wain, MD, and Alisha Oropallo, MD, are just some of the highly-skilled physicians within the Hospital's Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

    For more information about vascular care at Winthrop, please call (516) 663-4400.

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