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Published on October 16, 2015

Saving lives: How stents prevent strokes

Does your doctor say you have carotid artery disease? If so, ask if you’re a candidate for a stent instead of surgery.

stentPatients who qualify for stents can now have the nonsurgical treatment at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. It’s available because of a partnership with the Penn Heart and Vascular Network, a leader in cardiovascular care.

“Clogged arteries in the neck cause 35 to 45 percent of strokes,” says Alan Moak, MD, a Penn Interventional Cardiologist who performs the procedure at Mercy Fitzgerald. These clogs can be made of fats or blood clots. A stent can clear them without surgery.

The minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a catheter into an artery. The thin tube is then threaded up to clear the blockage. Finally a stent—a tiny metal tube—is placed in the blood vessel. “It props up the artery and corrects the blockage,” Dr. Moak says.

Carotid artery stenting is done only at select hospitals. And Mercy Fitzgerald is proud to be one. That means patients can get state-of-the-art care, right here in their own neighborhood. “If your doctor says you need carotid artery surgery, ask if you are a candidate for the stent instead,” advises Dr. Moak.

Expect expert care

Find expert cardiac care conveniently close to home. Learn how at

Robert K. Wenger, MD

Meet our new chief of cardiothoracic surgery

You don’t have to travel hours to find first-class heart care.

WengerIn fact, you don’t even have to leave the area. You can find it at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals with our cardiac care team and the arrival of new Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Robert K. Wenger, MD.

Dr. Wenger, of the Penn Heart and Vascular Network, leads a department that offers a wide range of heart surgeries. Among them: operations to correct abnormal heart rhythms, bypass grafting, and heart valve repair and replacement.

He brings 20 years of experience with open-heart surgery. And his specialties include aortic valve disease and high-risk coronary artery disease.

“Part of my job is to do as much of the surgery for the people of this community as can be done at Mercy Fitzgerald,” says Dr. Wenger. “At the same time, I have the good sense to refer patients who need more complex surgeries to my partners at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The people here deserve a high-quality cardiac surgery program. That’s what we provide.”

Getting to know you: Dr. Wenger

Where he’s from: “I’m Philly born and bred!”

His interests: Family, sports and the arts.

Something about him that might surprise you: He’s a six-time national rowing champion. He once came in fourth at the world championships.

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