Couple agree that a new cardiac device will transform lives
Michael “Ed” Perrino and his wife Michelina have lived in the Lehigh Valley for 20 years.
“It’s been the coldest 20 years of my life,” Mike says. Michelina just rolls her eyes.
They have been married 60 years. “That’s why he’s still alive,” she says. To which, he guffaws.
They bicker like an old married couple, mostly because they are. Mike is nearly 86. “I don’t consider myself geriatric,” he says. “Age is just a number; what matters more is how you enjoy life.”
And they have enjoyed life. They met in New York City where they were both raised. Was it love at first sight? “No,” he says while she nods emphatically.
He was in the Navy at the time and just wrapping up two tours in the Korean Conflict. Soon he transferred to the Air Force, and they went from bases in Cape Code, Italy and Washington D.C. with their three children in tow.
His 20 year military career then led to a 20 year career in air conditioning/ refrigeration.
Now he says is the time to “enjoy what time I have left.”
In Mike’s assessment, he’s got another 10 years at least… in part because of his recent cardiac care.
In the 1990s, Mike had quadruple bypass surgery after having a heart attack he didn’t even notice.
Since then he’s heart has been clear. Even a recent CAT scan confirmed his clean arteries. Michelina credits her good cooking. He says it was his seven-mile a day walking regime.
While his arteries are good, Mike developed arterial fibrillation (A-fib), a condition where the upper chambers of the heart beat too fast and with irregular rhythm. He treated it with blood thinners. Side-effects from the medicine took their toll on him… nose bleeds, spotted skin and internal bleeding.
He lost three pints during a recent bleed. That’s when his gastroenterologist suggested Mike consider a new cardiac implant device called Watchman. The device closes off the left atrial appendage of the heart in order to keep harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke.
He met with cardiologist and electrophysiologist Koroush Khalighi, M.D., an independent member of the medical staff, to learn more.
“The device is a one-time procedure, implanted through the use of a catheter in about an hour,” says Khalighi. “It offers a potentially-life changing option for patients who want freedom from the challenges of long-term blood-thinner use.”
Physicians at Easton Hospital were among the first in Pennsylvania to perform the procedure and are considered some of the most experienced surgeons in the state based on the number of devices implanted.
Mike consulted with several physicians for second opinions, and all confirmed that the procedure was a good decision.
“I like Dr. Khalighi,” he says. “He’s a great guy.”
She agrees, “He is so down to earth. I wish there were more doctors like him.”
Mike came to Easton Hospital for the surgery on a Friday morning and returned home on Saturday.
Mike fully expects to be off blood thinners in a matter of days which truly excites him.
“The medication has been difficult for me, so I’m glad to have an alternative approach and a physician like Dr. Khalighi,” he says. Michelina nods.
It’s good to see they have found something to agree upon. But the next decision of where to have dinner is a different matter.
250 South 21st Street
Easton, PA 18042-3892