Wife of the late John Ritter, Montefiore work to raise aortic health awareness
Montefiore Medical Center hosted a conference Friday to raise awareness about aortic health. News 12 spoke to a Bronx doctor as well as the wife of the late John Ritter about losing their loved ones to aortic dissection.
The legendary actor died from aortic dissection back in 2003. His wife, Amy Yasbeck, started a foundation to raise awareness about the disease which she says was undiagnosed and then misdiagnosed in Ritter.
"Because it was chest pain it was treated for a heart attack. So, it wasn't his heart. It was his aorta, and it wasn't a blockage. It's a tear inside the lining of the aorta," says Amy Yasbeck, founder of the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health.
Veteran pediatrician at Montefiore Patricia R. McQuade-Koors has taken up the same cause of fighting the often undetected, deadly disease.
Her son collapsed and died at the age of 38. She says his previous chest pain was diagnosed as being muscular.
"It's very important if you go with chest pain and it's not a heart attack that the appropriate test be done at least a sonogram of your heart," she says.
The Paul Koors Memorial Aortic Clinic, delayed due to COVID, is expected to open at Montefiore in a few weeks dedicated to helping save patients through early detection of the disease, which can be hereditary.
"Anybody who has a family history of aortic dissection the whole family will be studied and hopefully identify people early," says Dr. McQuade-Koors.
After Paul's death, his father was tested and had life-saving surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm which can lead to aortic dissection. Now Dr. McQuade-Koors is hoping the new clinic will save lives in the Bronx.