Guest post from Kristopher T. Kimmell, MD
Neurosurgical Resident, University of Rochester Medical Center
Babak S. Jahromi, MD PhD, though a neurosurgeon, used his skill and expertise to save the life of a heart patient with a rare disorder. Since February is American Heart Month, it is fitting to honor him for his efforts.
Dr. Jahromi is Surgical Director of the University of Rochester Comprehensive Stroke Center. Through a serendipitous sequence of events, a young woman with a very rare arteriovenous malformation (a growing tangle of abnormally connected arteries and veins, also known as an “AVM”) of her heart came under his care. For this unfortunate patient, the AVM acted as an incurable mass that continued to grow, leaving her with heart transplantation as her only remaining option. However, by a remarkable twist of fate, hospital renovations temporarily brought Dr. Jahromi into the cardiac catheterization center to perform his cerebrovascular angiographic procedures. During this time, he encountered interventional cardiologists who were stymied in their efforts to develop a treatment plan for this woman’s condition. This led to collaboration with cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cove, and together they proceeded to attempt “embolization” of the AVM with a liquid glue-like substance called Onyx, a procedure that is commonly used to treat brain AVMs.
The result was a success. With its blood flow cut off, the AVM stopped growing and subsequently regressed in size, with the patient remaining well to date. The case is unique and represents a pioneering treatment for this life-threatening heart condition. This sparked further collaborations between Dr. Jahromi and his cardiology colleagues, bringing other avenues of collaboration using advanced minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques to help treat rare heart conditions.
Dr. Jahromi is a tireless clinician and patient advocate. His research efforts are devoted to advancing interventional treatments for stroke and brain aneurysm patients. He maximizes the benefits of technology to improve patient care, and helps push forward innovative treatments. For his efforts to advance patient care and for his specific impact on one special patient, we recognize him as one of the many Faces of Neurosurgery.