Peggy Brown, Cardiology

Doing the Heart Good

Peggy Brown didn't usually give the nagging ache in her chest much thought until one afternoon a little over a year ago.

"I was in a parking lot and the pain became so sharp!" said the 79 year-old Mount Vernon resident. "I sat in my car for a bit and then decided I needed help when it wouldn't let up."

It turned out that Brown, who is also diabetic and has rheumatoid arthritis, needed three coronary artery stents and a single bypass to put her heart back on track.

Dr. Michael Duong, an interventional cardiologist at Northwest Hospital affiliated Western Washington Cardiology (WWC) in Everett, managed Brown's complex case. It was important to balance her cardiac needs with surgical options that wouldn't be complicated by her chronic medical conditions. Brown had already been a long-term WWC patient, undergoing her first stent procedures under their care over 10 years ago.

"Peggy's case was interesting, because she had so many other conditions," said Dr. Duong. "Just a few years ago, open heart surgery would have been her only option, and in her case, it's high risk. Instead, we chose a combination of minimally invasive heart surgery and radial (wrist) artery catheterization. She did very well."

"Radial catheterization is used in only one to five percent of U.S. cases," said Dr. Duong. "Our practice performs a high volume of these procedures."

During the procedure, Dr. Duong also used a "Rotoblator" to shave calcium deposits from Brown's arteries before installing the stents.

Dr. Duong then referred Brown to UW cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Nahush Mokadam for cardiac bypass surgery.

"Western Washington Cardiology is unlike any other practice in our area because of our collaborative relationship with UW Medicine," Dr. Duong said. "It gives our patients the best and broadest options for care."

To make the procedure less invasive, Dr. Mokadam used cutting-edge robotic technology to make a two-inch incision under Brown's left breast. The smaller incision allowed her to heal much faster than classic open heart surgery.

"It's so important for diabetics to not have a long healing period, and Dr. Duong was determined to find what was right for me," she said. "Not a breast bone or rib had to be broken and I healed in five weeks!"

"I was always very impressed with Dr. Duong," she said. "He's so efficient and really cares about you. He also did a tremendous job selecting my surgeon. I couldn't have been in better hands."

Brown realizes how lucky she is to be alive and around for her family, which now includes a great grandchild.

For more information on Western Washington Cardiology, visit or call (425) 225-2700.