News and Events

Rambam Doctors Perform Complex Heart Catheterization on 84-Year-old Woman

Publication Date: 1/25/2021 10:30 AM

Physicians in Rambam Health Care Campus’s Unit of Interventional Cardiology successfully performed a heart catheterization on an 84-year-old woman to avert a life-threatening condition, restoring her quality of life.

R to L: Dr. Sergei Yalonetsky, Yulia Hayit and Dr. Anees Musallam. Photography: Rambam HCCR to L: Dr. Sergei Yalonetsky, Yulia Hayit and Dr. Anees Musallam. Photography: Rambam HCC

Yulia Hayit, 84, a resident of Haifa, recently visited her doctor due to chest pain and was diagnosed as suffering from angina, a problem that was affecting her quality of life and could have developed into a life-threatening condition. Doctors at Rambam Health Care Campus had to choose between two difficult options – open heart surgery or complicated catheterization – both of which were particularly dangerous because of the patient's age.

"When Yulia underwent a diagnostic catheterization, it turned out that the angina was the result of a disease in her left main coronary artery," notes Dr. Sergey Yalonetsky, an attending physician in the Unit of Interventional Cardiology with a special interest in congenital heart disease in adults who treated the case. "This is a narrowing of the main artery of the heart, which developed exactly at the point of splitting between the arteries. Usually in such situations, we refer patients to open-heart surgery, but because of the patient's advanced age and the background diseases from which she suffers, we feared that the risk of such an operation was too high."

In order to maximize Hayit’s recovery chances, the physicians in the Unit of Interventional Cardiology decided to perform a complex catheterization, a procedure that is dangerous due to her age, but "the balance of risks was better for her condition," explains Dr. Yalonetsky.

For two hours, Dr. Yalonetsky and Dr. Anees Musallam, a senior physician in the Unit of Interventional Cardiology, performed the delicate and complex procedure, which included expanding the narrowed area and opening the resulting blockage at the split point.

"The procedure was successful and the patient experienced immediate relief," says Dr. Yalonetsky. “If in the past, age was the criterion for performing one action or another, if at all, today we examine the patient and their data, and tailor the solution that is right for them. Even when the solution is challenging, what matters is the person in front of us."

Hayit, a veterinarian by profession and a relatively new immigrant from Russia, could not hide her excitement when she met with the doctors after the operation. "I feel fine and very satisfied," she shares. "I feel the difference – now it's easier for me to breathe. I talked to my son in Moscow, and when he heard about the treatment they gave me here, he said that in Moscow, they don’t even try when it comes to older people. I want to say a big thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the doctors who treated me."