News Flash > Cardiovascular Health

 

No Pain Heart Health
 

Reported September 11, 2009


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- More than 1.5 million surgeries are performed each year where doctors place catheters in the groin to get to the heart. It gives surgeons precise access, but removing the catheter can be a painful process, requiring days of recovery. Something as simple as a sponge is easing the discomfort and getting patients out of bed sooner.

Just the sound of his model train engine brings Richard Wallace back to his childhood. He watched the trains every weekend while his mother cooked dinner.

"She died of a heart attack when she was 47," Wallace told Ivanhoe.

Wallace's health veered off track at the same stop.

"I had a heart attack on March 5 of my 47th year," he said.

In the last seven years, Wallace has had 25 stents in his heart. They're typically inserted through a catheter that starts in the groin and travels through the heart. Getting the catheter out can be painful.

 

 

"They're straddling you," Wallace said. "There's at least two people. It feels like they're reaching in and pulling your bones out through your skin."

Cardiologist Barry Weinstock, M.D., of Mid-Florida Cardiology Specialists in Orlando, Fla., is using a new procedure to ease Wallace's pain.

"It's a soft sponge that's absorbable," Dr. Weinstock told Ivanhoe.

A sponge is threaded through the catheter. It plugs up the hole in the artery to stop the bleeding, which eliminates the need for doctors to apply extreme pressure to the groin.

"This is entirely outside the artery and it's just a soft, absorbent sponge, so there's really no danger of damage to the artery," Dr. Weinstock said.

"I didn't feel a thing," Wallace said.

Wallace needed just one day of rest.

"The recovery time was so much faster," he said. "It was almost like, boom, it's over."

So instead of spending hours in bed, he can get back to the important details in his life.
Dr. Weinstock says he does this procedure up to seven times a day. He says it costs more, but those costs are balanced out by a shorter hospital stay.

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