When He Was Told Nothing Could Be Done, NNMC Was There

June 20, 2019
When he was told nothing could be done, NNMC was there

Richard McNaughton finally gets the help he needed for his coronary disease in Reno.

McNaughton, 81, was living in Phoenix, Arizona, when doctors discovered a significant blockage in a coronary artery and deemed it too difficult and risky to place a stent. They told him there was nothing more they could do.

His daughter stepped in and decided to bring her parents to Reno and made an appointment with a cardiologist. They ordered tests to determine McNaughton’s overall cardiac health, found that he was stable, and scheduled him to come in for periodic checkups.

But months later, McNaughton began experiencing crushing pain in his chest and went to the ER at NNMC. Doctors took McNaughton to the catheterization lab to check for blockages and consulted with Interventional Cardiologist Amr Mohsen, MD.

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Dr. Mohsen explains that a blood vessel that was part of McNaughton’s previous bypass graft was blocked. “In most cases, coronary artery blockages are made of soft cholesterol plaque that can be ballooned and stented without difficulty,” says Dr. Mohsen. “But in this case, the patient had calcified plaque, which is like a boney structure blocking the artery. Therefore, while opening the artery, you risk rupturing the vessel. It takes specialized equipment and training to know how to remove the plaque and place a stent safely.” Fortunately for McNaughton, Dr. Mohsen had received that training and frequently performs these techniques.

The procedure took about 45 minutes, and after a one-night hospital stay, he was discharged home. Dr. Mohsen states that repairing arteries with calcium requires a meticulous technique with specialized devices that break up the blockage.

“I have seen several patients like Mr. McNaughton who end up in palliative care because many of these procedures are deemed impossible,” says Dr. Mohsen. “But we can do them here.”

McNaughton can’t say enough about his doctors, the surgical team, nurses and the entire staff at NNMC. “It’s very important to have this hospital here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” says McNaughton, a retired EMT. “I’ve worked in many hospitals and have been a patient several times, and this hospital is exceptional in all ways. The courtesy and awareness of the staff was incredible, and my doctors took great care of me. Dr. Mohsen saved my life!”

McNaughton has recommended his doctors to many people, saying they are in touch with how to treat their patients. “Patient care should be number one, and it is here. They make this hospital perfect and they treat you like family,” he says.

Blockages don't only happen in your heart

As an interventional cardiologist with specialized vascular training, Dr. Mohsen is also experienced with blockages in blood vessels that occur in the lower extremities that may cause arterial ulcers in diabetic patients.

He explains that diabetes and smoking lead to accumulation of cholesterol plaque in the arteries that can restrict blood flow in the lower extremities, which can lead to arterial ulcers and blockages. “Antibiotics can’t reach the infection because of lack of circulation, so it never heals. As a result, the patient may be advised to have an amputation,” says Dr. Mohsen. “But we can check for blockages in the smaller arteries and restore blood flow, which allows the wounds and ulcers to heal, and avoid possible amputation.”

If you or a loved one have been told an amputation is needed due to a non-healing wound, check with your doctor or wound care specialist to inquire about possible blockages that may be preventing wound closure.

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