Modern Medicine: Heart Pump Saves Lives - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Modern Medicine: Heart Pump Saves Lives

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Panama City, Fla. -

Imagine having a heart problem, but the only way to treat it is with a high risk procedure. This can be a tricky decision, but a new device makes treatment safer.  The Impella device was FDA approved in 2008, and it's now available at Bay Medical Center.  It's a mini heart pump that supports the heart during high risk procedures.

Woody Woodruff suffered a large heart attack but because of a severe condition with his vessels, the risk was too high for bypass surgery.

"The main thing was my arteries were in such a bad shape.  They needed to find a way to pump blood to my heart again," Woodruff said.

That's when doctors performed a stint procedure using the Impella heart pump for support.  It's a tool that helps high risk patients withstand surgical procedures.

In case they were to develop a cardiac arrest or massive heart attack, they still have enough blood supply to the brain to sustain life," Interventional Cardiologist Samir Patel explained.

The heart pump is inserted through the groin and keeps the heart from stopping during the procedure.  It can then be taken out.

Woodruff's heart is beating today, and he says he owes that to his doctors and the Impella device.

"There's no doubt about it.  It will save people's lives.  It saved mine, and I'm sure it will do the same for others," Woodruff said with a smile.

The first procedure using the Impella was performed at Bay Medical Center in March of this year.