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st. francis hospital doctors with patient
(L-R) Dr. Newell Robinson, Dr. Jaffar Khan, Dorothy Lutgen, Dr. William Chung

Cardiologists at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® (Roslyn, NY), New York State’s only specialty-designated cardiac center, have performed the first SESAME procedure in the northeast. SESAME is a catheter procedure that uses advanced novel techniques and specialized imaging to repair the patient’s heart.

The patient, 81-year-old Dorothy Lutgen, suffers from mitral valve disease with advanced MAC (mitral annular calcification). This is an ailment that impacts the heart’s ability to efficiently pump blood.  Because she is high-risk, she is ineligible for open heart surgery, the conventional treatment for this disease. 

“This procedure has a chance of saving so many lives,” Dorothy explains. “You don’t have to go far away to have heart surgery, you can have it right here on Long Island, close to home!”

Dr. Jaffar Khan, Director of Interventional Electro-Surgery at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center®, innovated the SESAME procedure with his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and Emory University. “This is one of the most promising therapies in interventional cardiology. It allows for greater precision than traditional treatment options, because with the advanced imaging technology available at St. Francis Hospital, physicians can see where they will cut to thin out the septal area (a wall separating the right and left ventricles of the heart).  With this procedure, the patient avoids open heart surgery, which allows for a less intense recovery process.”

Dr. Khan worked closely with St. Francis’s expert physicians to perform the procedure. These included Dr. Newell Robinson, Chairman, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and co-chair of St. Francis Hospital’s structural heart program; Dr. George Petrossian, co-chair of St. Francis Hospital’s structural heart program; Dr. Omar Khalique, Director of Cardiovascular Imaging; Dr. Lin Wang, director of advanced echocardiography; and Dr. William Chung, interventional cardiologist. The team utilized the latest supporting technology, including the newest generation CT scanner; intra-cardiac echocardiography imaging (provides high-resolution real-time visualization of cardiac structures, continuous monitoring of catheter location within the heart, and early detection of procedural complications); and a biplane x-ray lab (allows two simultaneous projections of the heart). Dr. Khan explains that this combination of expertise and infrastructure gave Dorothy’s care team the tools they needed to perform the innovative procedure with great agility.

Dorothy is extremely grateful for their combined proficiency. “Everything was so positive.  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.”

Dorothy had two procedures performed six weeks apart. First, in April, the patient received the SESAME procedure, opening up the left ventricle for better outflow. In late May, the patient returned for the second and final phase of this treatment using the LAMPOON procedure in which two catheters are inserted through the patient’s groin and then through the blood vessels until it reaches the heart.  Dr. Khan explains, “The LAMPOON procedure cuts the leaflet (valves preventing the backward flow of blood), and enables TMVR (transcatheter mitral valve replacement). Typically, when a transcatheter mitral valve is implanted, it blocks the flow of the heart. The combination of SESAME and LAMPOON creates more room for blood to flow through the outflow of the chamber.” Dr. Khan and colleagues also invented the LAMPOON procedure during his time with the NIH.

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

Following the second procedure, Dorothy was able to go home the next day.

SESAME is a revolutionary therapy for two groups of patients: those who require a new mitral valve, like Dorothy, or, patients with HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy).

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

Recently, St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center® was awarded the nationally recognized HeartCARE Center™ designation by The American College of Cardiology (ACC), the only ACC HeartCARE™ Center designation in the area, including the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and Westchester.  Patients don’t have to leave Long Island to obtain the best level of cardiac care.

Additionally, St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center® received the HeartCARE Center™ National Distinction of Excellence based on meeting accreditation criteria, and through their ongoing performance registry reporting. St. Francis Hospital is the only hospital on Long Island with ACC Cardiac Catheterization Lab accreditation, the only ACC certified TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) program on Long Island, and is one of only two hospitals on Long Island to have ACC accreditation as a chest pain center with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Learn more about our heart valve treatments.

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