LOS ANGELES (April 28, 1999) - Los Angeles pharmacist Armando Figueroa was running low on optimism and options when he learned about a revolutionary, non-surgical investigational cardiac procedure available at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Armando suffered from hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, also known as IHSS (Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis), an overgrowth of muscle on the inside center wall of the heart that restricts the flow of blood from the heart. His symptoms --shortness of breath and chest pain - had become debilitating and, potentially, life-threatening.
"I could hardly function," recalled Armando, 60, who became too weak to work. "Just to go out to dinner was extremely difficult -- walking from the front door to the garage was a major effort. My quality of life was really going downhill."
In March, Armando became the first patient in Southern California to undergo this new procedure, called a septal ablation, which actually creates a "controlled" heart attack that destroys the excess heart muscle and helps relieve the obstruction to flow of blood from the heart. Almost a month later, Armando looks back with no regrets and newfound enthusiasm about the future.
"I'm enjoying my life again," Armando stated emphatically. "I was practically bed-ridden for six months, and now I'm looking forward to going back to work in May."
An estimated one in 500 people suffers from hypertrophic obstructive cardiomoypathy. Hypertrophy, or "thickening," refers to the overgrowth of muscle that restricts the flow of blood from the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta, often resulting in increasingly severe shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations and dizziness.
"In the past, the only treatment options were medications and, if they became
ineffective, open heart surgery to 'shave off' the obstruction," explained
interventional cardiologist Raj Makkar, M.D., associate director of the
Cardiovascular Intervention Center and co-di
Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center