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COVER STORY Michael Fallert, MD with patient, Al Schmidt

Lifesaving Experts The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Passavant Diseases of the heart and blood vessels often go hand-in-hand and can strike at any age. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability among adults nationwide. Patients at UPMC Passavant have access to state-of-the art care delivered by a team of UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and vascular surgeons.

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t age 89, Al Schmidt, was an energetic retiree who worked out three days a week. But one day last March, the Glenshaw resident found himself out of breath before he even reached the door. “I couldn’t breathe. I felt lightheaded and weak,” says Al. His primary care doctor referred him to Michael Fallert, MD, chairman, Department of Cardiology at UPMC Passavant, and associate director of clinical cardiol-

ogy, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute. Dr. Fallert, an interventional cardiologist, performed a diagnostic heart catheterization procedure to determine the severity of Al’s condition. “He was extremely sick from a combination of cardiac problems,” says Dr. Fallert. He diagnosed Al with ventricular tachycardia, a serious heart rhythm disorder caused by heart valve disease and coronary artery disease. “Surgery was Al’s only real option.”

UPMC cardiothoracic surgeon Pyongsoo Yoon, MD, worked in collaboration with Dr. Fallert. He replaced Al’s aortic valve, repaired the mitral valve, and performed a double coronary artery bypass in an open-heart surgery procedure. “This was not routine heart surgery, especially for an 89-yearold,” says Dr. Fallert. “It’s an extremely complicated procedure — something that can only be done at an advanced cardiac surgery center like UPMC Passavant.”

Reprinted with permission from the March 2020 issue of Northern Connection magazine.

Profile for Northern Connection Magazine

March 2020 issue - Northern Connection Magazine  

This month's cover feature is the UPMC Heart & Vascular Institute at UPMC Passavant. Also featured in this issue is our 2020 Summer Camp Gu...

March 2020 issue - Northern Connection Magazine  

This month's cover feature is the UPMC Heart & Vascular Institute at UPMC Passavant. Also featured in this issue is our 2020 Summer Camp Gu...