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contact: John P. Demoleas
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contact: Richard Clarke
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For Immediate Release


The pioneering heart procedure was the key factor that made possible a posterior colon surgery urgently needed to treat the patient for cancer.

(NEW YORK, May 2010)—Mr. Nicholas Roberto, born in New York on May 22 1913, was admitted to the emergency room of the Staten Island University Hospital on March 26, 2010 after he began suffering shortness of breath and chest tightness. During his evaluation, he was found to have gastrointestinal bleeding which led the doctor to discover that he had colon cancer. He required colon surgery but could not undergo the surgery because of his heart condition: Aortic Stenosis. His risk factors made him ineligible for traditional surgery, but minimally invasive surgery made it possible.

A team of cardiac specialists from The Heart Institute lead by Dr. Kourosh Asgarian performed, on April 7, 2010, an aortic valve replacement on Mr. Roberto. The six-hour surgery also enabled the doctors to perform Exploratory Laparotomy with hemicolectomy, a partial colon-removal procedure. Six days later, he was feeling well enough to go home. “When I saw a 96 year-old patient like Mr. Roberto the only thing that occurred to me was to do a minimally invasive approach and avoid a major incision and a major recovery period,” said Dr. Asgarian, “at The Heart Institute we have a mission statement, which is to do every open heart operation we can through a minimally invasive approach.”

Benefits of minimally invasive cardiac surgery include less pain—since it is performed through small incisions without having to perform a sternotomy, breaking the ribs or the breastbone—lower risk of wound infection and minimized scarring for an improved cosmetic outcome. Most patients leave the hospital within two to three days and resume normal activities, like driving, within a couple of weeks. “The Heart Institute helped me pass the line where I was supposed to die, and I gained quality of life,” said the 96 year-old patient.

The Heart Institute—opened in 2001 and jointly operated by Staten Island University Hospital and Richmond University Medical Center—is one of the nation’s leading heart hospitals, known for its pioneering techniques in heart surgery and angioplasties, for its most advanced diagnostic technologies, post-surgical outpatient care, and cardiac prevention programs. Procedures include coronary bypass operations, heart valve repair/replacements, aneurysm surgery, angioplasties and cardiac catheterizations.