St. Mary's Performs 1st Tracheal Stent

After numerous visits to the St. Mary's Hospital Emergency Room with shortness of breath, patient Danielle Lough, most recently displayed symptoms of stridor, an abnormal, high-pitched, breathing sound caused by a blockage in the throat or larynx. Ms. Lough, whose medical history includes liver disease and multiple intubations for respiratory failure, underwent a cat scan which revealed a narrowing of the trachea. After being referred by her Pulmonologist Dr. Young Jo, Ms Lough was given a bronchoscopy which confirmed that she had a focal area of narrowing in the trachea which required immediate attention.

Among the options for Ms. Lough were a tracheal resection and reconstruction, a complex and risky procedure, a tracheostomy, which may decrease her quality of life, or a tracheal stent. For optimal candidates the less invasive and most effective procedure would be the tracheal stent. During a tracheal stent placement, a tiny tube (stent) is inserted in order to prop open the airway aiding the patient to breathe better as well as preventing further obstruction. Stents are used to treat patients suffering from both benign and malignant diseases.

n September 2013, Ms. Lough, who lives in Paterson, became the first patient to undergo a tracheal stent procedure at St. Mary's. The surgery, performed by St. Mary's cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Huzaifa Shakir, was successful and allowed Ms. Lough to be discharged from the hospital within three days of the procedure, relieving her of a lengthy hospital stay and medical complications, which were likely with the other options.

Tracheal stenting has only been available during the last decade, yet, specialists trained to place such stents are rare and the procedure is done only at certain hospitals in the greater North Jersey region.

Photo Caption: L-R: Pulmonologist Dr. Young Jo, Cardiac Surgeon Huzaifa Shakir, Patient Danielle Lough, Renata Prelich, RN, Surgical Tech Betsy Rivas, and Anesthesiologist Dr. Jessica Willert.

St. Mary's Performs 1st Tracheal Stent