Health Matters: Laser Surgery for the Heart

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The most common procedures for those suffering from severe chest pain or angina up to now have been bypass surgery or angioplasty, but that's not the always the case anymore.
In this Health Matters, we look at a new type of laser surgery.

It may be the answer for patients who might not be suited for conventional cardiac treatments. After being recommended by his physician for a routine stress test and heart catheter, Steve Barrett was surprised to discover that his condition was much more serious than he had thought.

Steve says, “When they went to do the heart catheter they found I had five blockages in my heart.”

Steve's physician told him that, due to his situation, conventional methods of cardiac surgery may not be an option for him. He was however, a perfect candidate for a relatively new procedure involving lasers.

Dr. Harry M. Rosenblum says, “The acronym is TMR, which stands for Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization, and it is a relatively new laser technique where what we do is we aim the laser beam on the heart muscle itself to help create essentially new blood vessels.”

Candidates for TMR are generally patients who have constant chest discomfort, known as angina, that may not respond to other cardiac interventions.

Harry adds, “We've treated quite a few patients who have refractory discomfort, despite all the conventional therapy, and after having this procedure, they have been able to return to a full, normal functioning, healthy lifestyle with dramatic improvement in their discomfort.”

And thanks to the new procedure, Steve says he's now able to live a normal life.

“We are out walking about two miles about three days a week, trying to eat right and eat the right things.”

Although the TMR procedure is a wonderful treatment option for many patients, doctors recommend that the number one way to treat heart disease is to prevent it through a healthy diet and exercise.

The TMR procedure typically takes less than two hours to perform and the hospital stay is less than a week.

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