For Ann Apasewicz, the worsening pain in her chest at the height of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic nearly cost her life—until she sought help from NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn.
“I didn’t really want to go out because I had an underlying heart condition,” says Apasewicz, 60, a resident of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “I was having chest pains, and my pills were making it go away until I started getting short of breath.”
She scheduled a video visit with George Fernaine, MD, MBA, chief of cardiology at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn. She described her symptoms, and he told her to go to the hospital right away for a coronary angiogram. Once there, she saw firsthand she had nothing to fear about visiting the hospital.
“The emergency department was cleaner than I ever saw,” Apasewicz says. “Everything seemed to be so high on the agenda of keeping everything clean and safe. Everyone was wearing masks and gloves. It seemed like everybody had everything under control.”
The angiogram revealed Apasewicz, who has previously received treatment for coronary artery disease, needed surgical intervention to restore vascularization to the heart. Along with her family history of heart attack and her anatomical structure, the best course was cardiothoracic surgery, says Dr. Fernaine. He immediately had her transported by ambulance to NYU Langone Health’s Kimmel Pavilion in Manhattan for a coronary artery bypass graft with Elias A. Zias, MD, clinical professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NYU Langone.
“Using our advanced diagnostic capabilities in Brooklyn, we determined her anatomy did not allow for stent replacement,” says Dr. Fernaine. “As part of a world-class integrated health system, we have some of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in the region within reach.”
Since her surgery, Apasewicz has had several follow-up visits with Dr. Fernaine to monitor her progress. She is grateful she sought treatment when she did. “If I had stayed away longer, I could have had a heart attack,” she says. “The thing to do was face my fears, and it turned out there really wasn’t anything to be afraid about.”
Delaying care can be deadly, says Dr. Fernaine, and all NYU Langone locations are open and taking extensive precautions to ensure patient safety, including wearing masks, gloves, and eye protection, as well as screening staff, patients, and visitors upon entry.
The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and state-of-the-art electrophysiology laboratory at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn offer a wide range of minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures, including an array of heart rhythm treatments, cardiac ablations, and the implantation of specialized devices to improve heart function.