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Local Woman Is First Heart Transplant Recipient To Undergo New Procedure

DETROIT (WWJ) - A Metro Detroit woman was running out of options to treat her heart condition until her doctor tried a new method to fix an old problem.

WWJ Health Reporter Sean Lee spoke with 45-year-old Noreen Freck, who is used to keeping a close eye on her heart.

"When I was 34 I got my first transplant; it lasted six years," Freck said, "and then in 2008 I got my second transplant."

Freck had already undergone two stent procedures to keep scar tissue from narrowing her arteries when doctors discovered it was happening again.

Henry Ford Interventional Cardiologist Doctor Akshay Khandelwal decided it was time to go the same route — but with a different method.

"We thought that if we had a way of delivering just the medication alone, without having to put the stent in, maybe that would be an advantage," Khandelwal said.

Khandelwal performed a new procedure using a balloon to delivery medication that prevents scar tissue from forming, directly to the site where the artery is narrowed.

Freck was the first patient in Michigan, and the first heart transplant recipient, to have the procedure.

"I couldn't wait to see the improvements as I healed," said Freck, "and see what I was capable of doing versus before I went in.

"Now I'm back to exercising every day and feeling great," she said.

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