Former Navy nurse first to get "world's smallest heart pump" in Kingwood

Dr. Rick Ganim reunites with heart patient Marie Holt pictured with Steve Tillotson, her son-in-law, two weeks after the heart procedure was performed that saved her life. (HCN/The Lake Houston Observer)

Marie Holt, a 79-year-old former Navy nurse from San Antonio is the first patient at the Kingwood Medical Center and in the Lake Houston area to have a specialized heart procedure using "the world's smallest catheter-based heart pump," the Impella Ventricular Assist Device (VAD).

Kingwood Medical Center today announced interventional cardiologist Rick Ganim, M.D. successfully performed the heart procedure.

Ganim said, "The Impella device, a new, minimally-invasive heart catheter pump, helps a patient's weakened heart gain strength by providing temporary circulatory support, easing the workload of the heart muscle in patients with weakened or failing hearts."

He added, "Unlike open-heart surgery that requires surgeons to make a large incision in the chest, the Impella heart pump can be implanted through a small incision in the groin in the cardiac catheterization lab, without the need for surgical intervention. ... The Impella heart pump provides lifesaving support for patients, like Marie Holt, whose heart was too weak to survive surgical procedures that would otherwise be too risky. This tiny heart pump helped us save Marie Holt's life."

Holt has a history of complex coronary artery disease and atrial fibrillation, received cardiac bypass surgery 25 years ago. Holt spent most of her life volunteering and teaching classes at the military hospital. She recently moved to Kingwood to be closer to her two children that live in the area.

For the full report, go to our partner website, The Houston Community Newspapers' The Lake Houston Observer.
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