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New Technology Saves West Babylon Woman at Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center

February 12, 2018


It wasn’t exactly how Beverly Capobianco had hoped to spend her birthday. 

She came to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center with bouts of nausea and extreme vomiting.  

The day got worse when her primary care doctor walked into her room with a grim look on his face.

“He told me they found a mass in my head during one of their tests,” recalls the West Babylon woman.  “I was speechless.”

During the CT scan, a very large brain aneurysm was identified. Typically aneurysms aren’t identified during this type of procedure but due to the massive size, they were able to detect it.

Immediately, she was introduced to Kimon Bekelis, MD, Director of the Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center at Good Samaritan.   

“It’s fortunate that we were able to reach Beverly when we did,” said Dr. Bekelis. “Most of the time aneurysms don’t give any symptoms, but as they grow larger, patients are exposed to higher risk of rupture and if that happens, unfortunately 50% of patients die right away with no prior warning signs.”

The next day, Dr. Bekelis and his team used minimally invasive techniques to fill the majority of the aneurysm with soft platinum coils, to clot it off and protect it from rupturing. However, they were unable to immediately finish the job because of the anatomy of the aneurysm and its location within Beverly’s brain. 

Dr. Bekelis already knew what the next course of action would be.

Stryker, a medical company known for excellence and innovation in neurosurgery, was in the process of having a new stent approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The Atlas Stent can be delivered through a smaller catheter which makes it able to access smaller vessels in tough parts of the brain.  The unique stent also has the ability to conform to the vessel as opposed to changing the anatomy of the vessel and possibly impacting the patient.

“We knew about this stent when we first treated Beverly and were anxiously watching as it went through the FDA approval process, said Dr. Bekelis. “Given her anatomy and steep angles of her vessels she was the perfect candidate for this stent. Without this device we would be unable to completely protect the aneurysm without putting the normal blood vessels at risk for a stroke.”

What were Beverly’s impressions of using this new technology that had only been used a handful of times across the country?

“Dr. Bekelis told me this was something exciting and new that could really help me out,” said Beverly. “He started to explain it to me but I stopped him and said, 'Listen Dr. Bekelis, you are my savior, so you do whatever you need to do.’ I never had any hesitation with him or his team.”  

On Wednesday, January 24th, Dr. Bekelis used the Atlas Stent as a scaffold to finish the coiling of the aneurysm, completely protecting it from rupturing and, in the process, making Good Samaritan the first Medical Center on Long Island to use this new technology.

“We were extremely fortunate to be the first center on Long Island to use this new stent and directly benefit the patients at Good Sam,” said Dr. Bekelis. “It also shows that despite the fact that we are a new program, we’ve already displayed the volume that allows us to select patients who will benefit from subspecialized treatments, such as this new stent, while also developing a reputation with device companies as a facility that provides an advanced level of care.”

Despite undergoing a major neurosurgical procedure on Wednesday morning, Beverly was home with her family on Thursday night. 

“I feel fabulous,” said Beverly, on the day following her procedure. “People tell you their stories about their loved ones who had a headache and died the next day from an aneurysm. I’m just thankful to be alive and I owe it to Dr. Bekelis and his team at Good Sam.”

“Bev is a tremendous person. She took a very hard diagnosis in stride,” said Dr. Bekelis. “She put her trust in our team and we were able to deliver an excellent outcome. We’re lucky to be part of the life of such a wonderful person.”