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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

William DeMarco

In the spring of 2010, William DeMarco and his wife, Mary, were visiting the Chicago area. On their way to a party in the northern suburbs, he began to feel lightheaded and unlike himself. His wife was concerned and suggested they go to the hospital. The nearest Emergency Department was at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.

Tests revealed that both of his carotid arteries—located on either side of the neck that provide the main blood supply to the brain—were severely blocked, a condition that can lead to a life-threatening stroke. He was admitted and had a consultation with Mark K. Eskandari, MD, chief of Vascular Surgery at Northwestern Memorial, associate director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and the James S. T. Yao, MD, PhD, Professor of Education in Vascular Surgery at Feinberg. Dr. Eskandari told Mr. DeMarco that he would need immediate surgery to open the blocked arteries.

An affiliation between Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and Northwestern Memorial benefits patients like Mr. DeMarco, who was evaluated in the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Emergency Department by a Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute expert who spends time at both hospitals. Mr. DeMarco was transferred to Northwestern Memorial where Dr. Eskandari performed the procedure in a hybrid operating room suite that incorporates elements of both a traditional operating room and cardiac catheterization laboratory.

Dr. Eskandari tended to one carotid artery at a time, first placing a stent into the right carotid artery to widen the blood vessel and restore the blood flow. After one night in the hospital, Mr. DeMarco returned home to Arizona to recuperate before coming back to Northwestern Memorial for the second surgery on his left carotid artery.

“After the first procedure, I would not have considered staying in Phoenix and having someone else do the surgery,” says Mr. DeMarco, 68, who serves the Native American population as a part-time deacon in his church. “I came back to Northwestern Memorial because I was so confident in Dr. Eskandari and his entire staff. They explained the procedure and its benefits. I had very positive feelings about Dr. Eskandari’s expertise.”

Today he is watching his diet, visiting his physician for regular checkups and will have an ultrasound of his carotid arteries every year.

“It was kind of a wakeup call,” Mr. DeMarco says. “Fortunately, because of Dr. Eskandari and the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, the surgeries on my carotids did not cause me any grief.”

And that means he can get back to doing the work he loves: ministering to the Native American population and working with individuals on marriage preparation and the marriage annulment process.