Phoebe adds enhancements to its heart program - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Phoebe adds enhancements to its heart program

The new scanner can take complete images of the brain and heart in a little more than half a second (Source: WALB) The new scanner can take complete images of the brain and heart in a little more than half a second (Source: WALB)
Dr. Pablo Rengifo-Moreno, Interventional Cardiologist (Source: WALB) Dr. Pablo Rengifo-Moreno, Interventional Cardiologist (Source: WALB)
Buster Wasden, former TAVR patient, speaks in front of Phoebe Hospital Board (Source: WALB) Buster Wasden, former TAVR patient, speaks in front of Phoebe Hospital Board (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Phoebe Putney cardiologists are helping more heart patients thanks to updates to the hospital's heart program, including a less invasive heart procedure and new scanning equipment.

Dr. Pablo Rengifo-Moreno is a Phoebe cardiologist who recently gave an update on the program to the Phoebe Hospital Board.

He said the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a less invasive procedure aimed to help those with heart issues.

Dr. Rengifo-Moreno said the aortic valve serves as the "door" to the heart which opens and pumps blood throughout the body.

As humans get older, calcium begins to build onto the valve which makes it harder to open.

Once it happens, people can begin to experience symptoms like loss of breath, lightheadedness, and chest pains.

Instead of open heart surgery where the doctor must open the chest, the TAVR procedure uses a catheter to replace the heart valve.

Albany resident Buster Wasden experienced heart issues several years ago.

He was told that he would need to have his aortic valve replaced, but was considered inoperable for surgery.

Instead, doctors selected Wasden for the TAVR procedure. He had the procedure done last October and said he feels great.

"I'm all the time doing something. I stay in my wood-shop most of the time because I enjoy it. I'm having a great life. I've been retired now for 19 years and I feel better now than the day I retired," said Wasden.

Phoebe cardiologists said they've completed more than 35 TAVR procedures and all of them have been successful.

"I've been there. I know what it's all about to feel that way. You go find out what's wrong with you. If you have something that can be fixed, fix it," said Wasden.

In addition to the TAVR procedure, Phoebe cardiologists are also using a new scanning machine.

Dr. Rengifo-Moreno said the 256 MSCT scanner is a $1 million investment which can capture complete images of the heart and brain in a little more than half a second.

"I want my eyes to have the perfect lenses and this scanner gives me that. I actually can see the challenges that I'm going to have through the procedure before I do it," said Dr. Rengifo-Moreno.

Phoebe said the scanner is unique to our area because it's the only 256 MSCT scanner in Southwest Georgia.

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