Two Happy 'Beginnings'

Experience is at the heart of quality cardiac care

Cardiac conditions don’t always come with a warning. Choosing a healthy lifestyle is certainly the best way to prevent problems from starting. It’s equally important to visit your doctor regularly for checkups and to align yourself with a hospital that offers advanced services for diagnosis and treatment — just in case you need them.

Cardiac CareKidane GiorgisLuckily, Kidane Giorgis, 75, was in the right place at the right time Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, when he was having breakfast in the George Washington University Hospital cafeteria. He had visited his gym as usual on Friday.

He felt some pain in his chest over the weekend that came and went. Sunday morning, the pain became so severe, he was rushed to the Emergency Room. “I remember doctors running up and down,” he says.

After multiple blockages were detected in Giorgis’ arteries, Farzad Najam, MD, associate Director of Cardiac Surgery and Associate Clinical Professor of Cardiac Surgery at GW Hospital, performed a triple bypass on his patient on Sept. 20. A year later, Giorgis is well enough to exercise again, walks an hour every day and has just gotten back to swimming. “I look after my diet, take my medication, walk and I don’t drink,” says Giorgis. “Well, I have one glass of wine once in a while.”

Dr. Najam also treated Wesley Pippert, 79. In his case, there was some indication of a growing problem for several months before his surgery.

Wesley Pippert“I work out four to five days a week, and have for the last 20 years or so,” says Pippert, a retired professor of journalism and former correspondent for United Press International. “I started to have some pain in my back when I would walk or run.”

Pippert went to see his cardiologist, Richard Katz, MD, Director, Division of Cardiology, who conducted an imaging stress test. In this test, radioactive dye is injected into the bloodstream and used to create pictures of blood flow to the heart. They show how much of the dye has reached various parts of the heart during exercise and while at rest. Because imaging stress tests provide a clear picture of conditions surrounding coronary heart disease, they can sometimes project the risk of a future heart attack.

Pippert’s stress test showed poor blood flow to the bottom of his heart. In follow-up, he had a cardiac catheterization at the George Washington University Hospital, which revealed multiple blockages in the arteries.

His cardiac team recommended a three-vessel coronary bypass, and he had one two weeks later.

Both Giorgis and Pippert were reunited with their heart surgeon during a Cardiac Surgery Open House at GW Hospital on June 18. They were glad to see Dr. Najam “outside of surgery.”

“The procedure went quickly and the recovery went quickly, so I feel good about it,” says Pippert.

Giorgis says that he went to the open house to meet other patients who had experiences similar to his. “Some people had the same problem I had, but I was more active than they were,” he says. “I told them, you have to do what your doctor tells you — always.”

Heart disease preventionThe Risk of Heart Disease Increases as You Age

It’s fairly well known that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it is a major cause of disability. But did you know that as you get older, the risk of developing the disease gets higher? You have a greater risk of heart disease if you are a man over the age of 45 or a woman over the age of 55.*

Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize your risk:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Know your blood pressure and keep it under control
  • Get tested for diabetes and if you have it, keep it under control
  • Know your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and keep them under control
This Draft Has Sidebar Blocks
Sidebar Block 1
Meet the
Farzad Najam Farzad Najam, MD
Associate Director of Cardiac Surgery, Associate Clinical Professor of
Cardiac Surgery
Richard Katz Richard Katz, MD
Director, Division of Cardiology
Sidebar Block 2
Do you have a
heart murmur?

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 30
Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Have you been told you have a heart murmur? Some are harmless while others are caused by defective heart valves. Learn more about how an echocardiogram can help determine if you have mitral valve prolapse. Learn the symptoms, diagnosis and surgical options for valve repair or replacement.

Register today! >

Sidebar Block 3
The Cardiovascular

Advanced technology and medical expertise come together to provide patients with a comprehensive program for advanced treatment of heart disease and vascular disorders, available in one convenient location.

Learn more >


The George Washington University Hospital is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.          

The George Washington University Hospital

900 23rd St., NW
Washington, DC 20037

© 2015 The George Washington University Hospital. All rights reserved.

Note:The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither The George Washington University Hospital , or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.            

The information, content and artwork provided by this Web site is intended for non-commercial use by the reader. The reader is permitted to make one copy of the information displayed for his/her own non-commercial use. The making of additional copies is prohibited.