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'Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital was there for me'

Vince Mascio doesn’t remember much about Nov. 24. The 55-year-old Bolingbrook resident remembers feeling very stressed out following his younger brother’s sudden death a week earlier. He recalls having chest pain. One of his last recollections before passing out is asking his girlfriend to look up the address of Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. But he passed out so quickly she only had time to call 911. Mascio was taken by ambulance to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital’s emergency department. He was treated by Dr. Evan Kahn, an emergency medicine specialist, and Dr. George Aziz, an interventional cardiologist. Kahn administered medications to lower Mascio’s sky-high blood pressure. A CAT scan revealed type 1 aortic dissection, a tear in the body’s largest blood vessel. 

Typically, the only treatment for aortic dissection is emergent surgery. Mascio was transported by ambulance to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. There Dr. Frank Lutrin, medical director of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, replaced Macio’s ascending aorta and part of his aortic arch. Lutrin also completed a single bypass of Mascio’s coronary vessels. Mascio spent a week in the hospital and several weeks recovering at home.

Because aortic dissection is rare and its symptoms can mimic those of a heart attack, it is often not diagnosed or treated quickly. Thirty percent of aortic dissection patients die in the hospital – many during surgery, according to national statistics. The rare but often deadly condition strikes 10,000 Americans a year; actor John Ritter suffered a fatal aortic dissection in 2003. Mascio is thankful for his proximity to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital and for the prompt diagnosis by his doctors.

“From what I’ve been reading about this (condition), I shouldn’t be here today,” Mascio said. “For a hospital that hasn’t been around very long, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital was there for me. I’m glad it’s here.”

Kahn contends that treating Mascio was a team effort.

“Every second counted,” Kahn said. “We all worked quickly and we all worked together.”