Medical Marvels: Queens baker with 2 major heart problems receives first of its kind life-saving procedure

FLUSHING, Queens (WABC) -- A professional baker from Queens went from thinking he had a cold to suddenly needing life-saving heart surgery.

At first, Jorge Vicente Lopez thought he had a cold as he was tired and short of breath. After a week of feeling ill, he became unable to work anymore and went to the Emergency Department at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens.

Doctors quickly discovered that he had two major problems with his heart and his life was in serious danger. Jorge had a unique case of aortic coarctation (narrowing of his aorta), a condition usually present at birth that had gone undiagnosed till now.

In addition, he had defective aortic and mitral valves in his heart. The multidisciplinary team of cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens immediately began planning a first of its kind procedure staged to address his condition in two phases.

First, Jorge underwent a thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) to address the aortic coarctation, which was conducted by Dr. Rajeev Dayal, Director of Vascular Surgery.

Following a two-week recovery, he returned to the hospital for heart valve replacement surgery which was performed by Dr. Dayal and Attending Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Dimitrios Avgerinos to replace both his mitral and aortic valves.

"They saved my life," Lopez said. "What happened to me was a very difficult thing. I believe it happened at the right time and I came to the right place."

His doctors agreed that his recovery was nothing short of remarkable.

WABC-TV is proud to have taken you inside NewYork-Presbyterian Queens for a look at some extraordinary stories that we call Medical Marvels. It's WABC's Emmy-nominated digital series exclusive to abc7NY.

Click here for more information on Dimitrios Avgerinos, MD, PhD, Attending Cardiothoracic Surgeon, and Rajeev Dayal, MD, FACS, Director of Vascular Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens.
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