Dana Carvey and Dr. P.K. Shah on Good Patient-Physician Relationships (Seriously)

Dana Carvey; Prediman K. Shah, MD; Tricia Ward


April 10, 2014

In This Article

Editor's Note:
At the 2014 American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions, comedian and actor Dana Carvey was honored for his work in bringing awareness to early detection and prevention of heart disease and for supporting national efforts to prevent heart disease. Carvey, now 58, suffered a heart attack at age 42 and underwent multiple interventions, including coronary artery bypass graft surgery, more than 15 years ago (the surgeon bypassed the wrong artery; Carvey sued and received a settlement). The Saturday Night Live alum is a patient of ACC 2014 program co-chair Dr. Prediman (P.K.) Shah (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California). The two sat down with theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology to discuss physician-patient relationships.

theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology: How long have you been together as patient and physician, and does it predate any of the procedures?

P.K. Shah, MD: About 16 years.

Dana Carvey: I had a stent before. Then I had 3 stents with P.K. Then I had a bypass with another hospital.

theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology: Were these bare metal stents?

Dr. Shah: This was before the days of drug-eluting stents. Dana had symptoms of angina. He had an angiogram which showed a left anterior descending (LAD) lesion and he had a stent placed. It restenosed within 3 months and was restented a couple of times. After the third time, we suggested that if it restenoses again then it's time to have surgery. It did restenose again, and then Dana had bypass surgery in San Francisco.

Unfortunately, the surgeon mistakenly connected the internal mammary artery to a branch of the LAD rather than the LAD itself. So a month after bypass surgery, Dana called me saying that he was having the same symptoms all over again. We were very worried that they might have messed up the bypass. We had him fly back down to LA, and one of my colleagues did an angiogram and confirmed that the bypass had been hooked to the wrong artery.

Then it was a choice between another surgery or one more attempt at stenting and hoping that it holds. He had the stent placed, and it has held for 15 years now.

theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology: Was that last stent a drug-eluting stent?

Dr. Shah: No, it was still a bare metal stent. This was in the 1990s.

Mr. Carvey: Isn't this weird? He said a prayer for me at Mother Teresa's [center in Calcutta], and then my mother-in-law, who is Irish, said a prayer at a wishing well in Ireland. I had the whole globe praying for me. That's where you just have gratitude that the artery has stayed open.


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