Just in time for World Heart Day – celebrated on Thursday, September 29 – a Woodville woman is cherishing the strength of her new heart, thanks to a procedure using the world’s smallest heart pump performed for the first time at St. Luke’s Health Health-Memorial this week.
World Heart Day is commemorated annually in an effort to protect the hearts of the world through education about cardiovascular disease, modifying risk factors and overall better heart health.
It’s certainly a day Annie Jacobs, of Woodville, will always remember – as it falls just days after her remarkable heart procedure.
Jacobs said she was going about her normal day, which included herding cattle at her ranch. Later that night, she experienced shortness of breath and tightness in her chest. Wisely, Jacobs headed to the hospital, and after observation in the St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin ICU, it was found that Jacobs’ heart had several blockages in need of repair. In the past, patients like Jacobs – who has a weakened heart – would need to be sent to Houston for the necessary, complex procedure. But now Lufkin interventional cardiologists are offering a newer, less invasive option for patients deemed too high risk for traditional open heart bypass surgery.
The complex procedure utilized a team approach, optimizing the unique talents of Dr. Musa M. Khan and Dr. Amir Solhpour, both of the Heart Institute of East Texas. Inserted through a catheter, the Impella CP heart pump allows physicians to repair blocked arteries by taking over the pumping function of the heart during the procedure. This allows weak or enlarged hearts to rest during the minimally invasive procedure providing stable cardiac function and without adding undue stress to the muscle.
During a balloon angioplasty, the patient’s weak heart heart makes it very complex and high risk to perform angioplasty and stent. Use of Impella as we place the stent, supports the heart function and allows it to get excellent results,” Dr. Khan said. “This device keeps the function going. It is very impressive that we are able to do this procedure here in Lufkin. Before we would need to send patients to Houston to have this kind of procedure done, but now we are able to keep our friends and neighbors right here at home; and even better, they’re not staying days or weeks in the hospital to recover. It’s definitely a huge benefit for our patients.”
Dr. Solhpour – the Heart Institute’s newest employed physician – repaired the damaged arteries using small stents, while Dr. Khan inserted and maintained the Impella device that kept up with Jacob’s normal blood flow her heart needed to stay healthy during the procedure.
“This was a highly complex procedure that we completed successfully and were able to get outstanding results for the patient,” Dr. Khan said. “She had several blockages in two of the three main arteries, and by working together as a team, Dr. Solhpour and I were able to fix them all.”
With her heart now strong enough to maintain the passion she has for her Woodville ranch, Jacobs will be back tending her cattle and her family soon.
“I had spent so much time taking care of everyone else, I had not taken care of myself, as mothers often do,” Jacobs said. “I am so grateful for my doctors and this hospital. I’m proud that to be the first one to receive this procedure in Lufkin, and I was impressed by the help I’ve received from all of the staff.”