Dramatic days, hopeless hours, desire to heal as soon as possible and return to normal life. Through tears, 65-year-old Anka Peshikj begins to tell the story of the golgotha ​​she went through the hospital corridors in the country. Everything lasted for months. Discouraged and knowing that she was facing her biggest life challenge to date, Peshikj spent weeks seeking answers to the reasons for her deteriorating health. The problems start when she suddenly loses strength, to the point that she cannot walk. At the same time, Anka Peshikj lost her appetite, had a high temperature, and her blood count showed that she had a problem – her iron started to fall, CRP rose. The initial perceptions that it might be cancer were a shock to the Peshikj family. Additional examinations followed, many sleepless nights, but also luck for Mrs. Peshikj to come to “Acibadem Sistina”. After it was determined that she actually had heart problems, she is grateful to have met Prof. Aleksandar Nikolikj, MD. She is now recovering after a successful intervention.


The story, however, has a lot of emotions, a lot of roaming for answers. Peshikj says that everyone thought she had cancer, and she did stomach tests. However, an examination by a pulmonologist revealed that she had a heart murmur, something that gave a completely new clue in the search for an accurate problem diagnosis. Then her family asked for help from Prof. Aleksandar Nikolikj, MD. The same day they came to the Acibadem Sistina Clinical Hospital, Prof. Nikolikj asked for a heart ultrasound. The results showed that it was a serious valve infection that required urgent surgery. “I was lucky to meet Professor Nikolikj. I managed to reach him by accident. I was in a wheelchair, feeling nothing but fatigue. I wanted to overcome this situation as soon as possible. When we met, the professor immediately sent me for an ultrasound. After seeing the results, he said that intervention was urgently needed and I had to have a surgery. I asked him how much time I had until the intervention. He told me immediately, in two days at the latest. If I had come a day or two later, I think I would not be here now. The situation was difficult,” Peshikj said.


Prof. Nikolikj, MD says that the surgery was inevitable and urgent. He had to respond immediately because her heart was weak due to the infection. Mitral insufficiency and endocarditis have been diagnosed for Mrs. Peshikj. It was necessary to replace the mitral valve with a mechanical valve. “The valve was infected and abscesses were made around the valve itself. The infection went to the mitral valve. The intervention actually fixed the whole infection, the valve was replaced and we gave appropriate therapy. The intervention lasted four hours. I want to make it clear that valve infections must be treated with surgery and should not be waited  or treated conservatively, something that has not been practiced for 10 years. “The patient is great and can finish all chores, have the same quality of life as before,” said Prof. Nikolikj, MD.


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Anka Peshikj’s biggest support in this challenge were her two daughters. One, the famous painter Divna Peshikj, who currently lives with her family in the United States. However, the problem with her mother seriously scared her. She says that those days were the most difficult in her life, the immense uncertainty, yet the hope was paramount. She knew that the best doctor took care of everything. “I am very happy that there is such a hospital as Acibadem Sistina above all. Many professionals work here. After the doctor saw the results, he said that intervention was urgently needed and I had to have a surgery. I asked him how much time I had until the intervention. He told me immediately, in two days at the latest. If I had come a day or two later, I think I would not be here now. Unfortunately, I was not there then because we live in the United States. My sister was constantly with my mother. “I am eternally grateful to Professor Nikolikj and the hospital for helping my mother,” said Divna Peshikj. The Peshikj family says they will not forget those moments. Inspired by gratitude, Divna Peshikj gave the doctor a present – a painting “Heart for Heart”.


The risk of mitral regurgitation increases with age due to the natural valve wear out over the years. Endocarditis is an inflammation or infection of the inner (endocardial) surface of the heart that may involve one or more valves or other structures. According to Prof. Nikolikj, MD cardiac surgeon, endocarditis is often caused by bacteria that normally live on the skin, inside the digestive tract or in the urinary tract.


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Decayed teeth are the most common and dangerous source. With each teeth brushing with a hard brush the gums are damaged and that increases the number of bacteria in the blood. A normal organism and immunity can fight on its own and nothing happens. If these bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can “stick”, or “settle” on any damaged area inside the heart and cause vegetation or abscess – a new “source” of infection that is not always treatable with antibiotics. Inhabited bacteria-vegetations can reach huge dimensions (centimeters) and be mobile. Then there is a great danger of their release or decay. This means that the fragments can fly through blood vessels anywhere in the body and cause, in the worst case, a stroke, even an abscess in the brain. Tissue damage, especially when the valves are attacked, can disrupt their normal function and lead to valvular insufficiency which can lead to severe cardiac arrest and heart failure.