Samad K A Less Invasive Alternative for Multiple Coronary Blockages

“He was very patient and thorough in his explanation of the procedure, its risks and his experience with others in my situation. I knew Dr. Wasty was the one for me.”

Samad Khabir, 74, a retired firefighter from Richmond Virginia, and Vietnam veteran, was not feeling himself and went to his cardiologist for a stress test which led to a coronary angiogram. The angiogram revealed severe blockages of all three major arteries of the heart and coronary artery bypass surgery was recommended.

Mr. Khabir had many memories of emergency rooms and hospitals through his experience as a firefighter helping heart attack victims and did not feel prepared for major surgery. In consideration of the holidays approaching, Mr. Khabir did not want to have the surgery and he set out to learn as much as he could about his condition and whether there were any other options available to him.

Najam Wasty, MD
Najam Wasty, MD

His online search brought him to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBI) and to interventional cardiologist Najam Wasty, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Director Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at NBI. Mr. Khabir found Dr. Wasty and a similar patient story of Claire.

Dr. Wasty has pioneered non-surgical, protected percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and as director of NBI’s Interventional Cardiology Fellowship training program, has trained many of the cardiologists around the country to perform this kind of procedure.

Mr. Khabir had a telehealth visit with Dr. Wasty who explained to him his various options. He felt very comfortable working with Dr. Wasty and his office administrators, who addressed much of the paperwork in order for them to schedule the procedure. During his virtual appointment with Dr. Wasty, Mr. Khabir knew he found the right doctor to help him, “He was very patient and thorough in his explanation of the procedure, its risks and his experience with others in my situation. I knew Dr. Wasty was the one for me.”

The American College of Cardiology recommends coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), as the preferred treatment for blockages such as Mr. Khabir’s as the gold standard. As a secondary option, PCI and protected PCI is available to a certain population of patients who qualify.

“Protected PCI is an alternative for a certain population of cardiac patients,” said Dr. Wasty. “It is less invasive than traditional CABG and most patients are home in 24 hours,” states Dr. Wasty, who was one of the first physicians in New Jersey to perform protected PCI procedures using the Impella® mini heart pump.

Protected PCI is a non-surgical procedure where an experienced clinician expertly guides a small heart pump, a device called an Impella® through the femoral artery in the leg and up to the heart. This pump temporarily assists the heart to maintain blood flow to the body while the interventional cardiologist addresses the blockages.

In November of 2021, Mr. Khabir woke up at 3 a.m. on the day of his scheduled procedure and took an early train from Richmond to Newark where he met Dr. Wasty in the Catheterization Laboratory at NBI. The protected PCI angioplasty procedure just took a few hours to successfully perform in NBI’s cath lab. The complex coronary blockages could only be addressed by someone like Dr. Wasty, who possesses advanced skills and experience necessary to safely address such situations.

After an overnight stay, Mr. Khabir was discharged home. His follow-up appointment was 48 hours later in Dr. Wasty’s office where he was shown, through diagrams, heart models and his own angiogram from the stent procedure, exactly the type of blockages that were stented. He was also counseled about how to modify his diet to keep his cholesterol in check.

Today, Mr. Khabir is back home in Virginia, fully recovered and back to maximum activity, enjoying time with his extended family. He hopes that through sharing his story and experience, he can in some way be able to help others.

Whoever your heart beats for, our hearts beat for you. To connect with a top cardiovascular specialist at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, call 888-724-7123 or visit Heart and Vascular Care.