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Lost and Found

Mick and Carol at home with
Mitzi and Gizmo.

Mick Ajamian was lost.

It was early June 2008. The furniture salesman remembers struggling to ring up a small item for a customer. "I couldn't think what I was doing. I kept apologizing. My supervisor sent me home."

The Maple Glen man had experienced a mild stroke about six months earlier. He never connected the "mild tingling" to what was happening now. His vision suddenly tunneled and his speech slurred. His wife, Carol, rushed him to Abington Memorial Hospital's Emergency Trauma Center.

Mick's arrival almost coincided with the man who would save his life. Qaisar Shah, MD, Abington's new "neuro-intervention" neurologist, had joined the medical staff a few weeks earlier to perform
urgent and non-urgent interventional procedures at AMH.

Only select hospitals in the region perform these minimally invasive neuro-interventional procedures.
Dr. Shah's expertise as an interventionalist AND a neurologist make him uniquely qualified to guide instruments through blocked arteries, opening blood flow to the brain.

In fact, Dr. Shah is one of a very small number of practicing neuro-interventional neurologists in the nation.

After Mick was admitted to the hospital, tests showed severe narrowing of the blood vessels inside his brain. Unfortunately, Mick had another stroke within two weeks of his initial stroke. Dr. Shah performed an emergent angioplasty on Mick, expanding a tiny balloon inside a catheter to widen an artery that was 90% blocked. This reduced the blockage to about 70% - critically needed space for oxygen-rich blood to saturate Mick's brain tissue. This provided the necessary stability until Mick was ready for a second phase of treatment.

Although Dr. Shah was concerned the vessel would collapse on itself, he wanted to let his patient rest before placing an intracerebral stent. After four weeks of rest, Dr. Shah threaded a tiny stent through the groin artery. Following images highlighted by contrast, the specialist reached the narrowed portion of the artery and maneuvered the stent into position. The tiny "spring" fortified the vessel's width.

Today, the 61-year-old Mick has retired from his job. He's spending "stress-free" days with Carol. His speech and vision are virtually normal again.

Of course, Mick has found a "terrific new doctor" in Dr. Shah. "I have some smaller blockages that we're watching," he says. "He's the kind of doctor that speaks to you, not at you. I believe he and his colleagues are very in tune to their patients' needs."

Including being in the right place at the right time.


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