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Indian-origin doc saves actor’s life with rare surgery


Dr Amit patel photo20131212150532_l

Dr Amit Patel from the University of Utah performed the historic procedure that involves injecting the patient's own stem cells into the organ, on the 66-year-old actor, father of Lively – 'Gossip girl' actress Blake Lively.

The surgeon used a new technique of retrograde gene therapy on a human heart to repair damaged muscle and arteries of the veteran actor credited with a long list of TV and film appearances, including Passenger 57 and the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. 

Lively had suffered a massive heart attack in 2003, which left him functioning on half a healthy heart. As time marched on, his ejection fraction–the measurement of the percentage of blood leaving the heart each time it contracts–continued to decline. 

Lively connected with Patel, director of Clinical Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering and an associate professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine. 

Lively became a patient of Patel's in February, when Patel saved Lively's life after a complication with an angiogram left the actor with a severed aorta and problems with his coronary arteries. 

This month, Lively got his wish when he became the first patient in the world to undergo retrograde gene therapy at University of 

Utah Hospital, a novel procedure designed to deliver stem cells to the heart to repair damaged muscle and arteries in the most minimally invasive way possible. 

Patel started investigating cell and gene-based therapies for the treatment of heart disease 12 years ago, but only recently received FDA approval to try the therapy on Lively. 

The first successful procedure was performed on Lively on November 7. 

"It's incredible. Imagine having a heart procedure that can potentially regenerate or rejuvenate your heart muscle — and it's done as an outpatient procedure," said Patel. 

Lively is now recovering at home.

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