Robert and Dr. Wade Fischer pre surgery
Robert and his wife Bobbie just before discharge from SJMH
Robert LaValley wouldn´t have dreamed that a trip to the Emergency Department at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital (SJMH) for chest pain would end up in an open heart procedure. For eleven years Robert LaValley has suffered from chest pain, shortness of breath and a stabbing sensation in his upper chest. Having undergone an angioplasty in 2000 his symptoms continued to bother him and reached an extreme point approximately two weeks ago. His wife Bobbie Tanley, Practice Administrator for Doctors Willits and Allencherril, called Dr. Allencherril and explained her Husband´s symptoms. He told her to take her Husband to the Emergency Department at SJMH. Soon after his arrival, Edward Leahey, M.D., Robert´s cardiologist took over his care. Testing revealed that when Robert swallowed or coughed his blood pressure would drop dramatically alluding to a larger heart problem. He was soon admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at SJMH. Further testing soon revealed that Robert had many partial restrictions or blocked arteries to the heart.
Dr. Leahey then referred Robert to Wade Fischer, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon, Methodist Cardiovascular Associates, affiliated with The Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center and Medical Director of SJMH´s new Heart and Vascular Center. After reviewing his medical history and test results, Dr. Fischer explained to Robert that he thought he would be the perfect candidate for the first open–heart procedure at the advanced Heart and Vascular Center at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital."I was so excited to be the first open–heart patient. The $4 million room is so impressive. It has the best equipment and the cardiovascular expertise to back it up," said Robert. "I felt like I was a ship on her maiden voyage– I had no hesitations."
On Monday, February 7th Robert underwent coronary artery bypass surgery. A team of cardiovascular experts including: Dr. Fischer, Karthic Kumaran M.D. a Cardiovascular Anesthesiologist, Mahesh Ramchandani, M.D. a Cardiothoracic/Vascular Surgeon, perfusionists, and cardiovascular nurses worked together during the procedure. Robert had blockage to all three major arteries to the heart; subsequently Dr. Fischer performed bypasses on all three. "We have been preparing for the first open–heart at SJMH for a year. The surgery went very smoothly. The combination of an expert team and the advanced technology of the hybrid operating room made the procedure seamless. Robert was a wonderful patient and we are so happy to provide him with a more permanent solution to his heart issues," said Dr. Fischer. "Having this level of cardiovascular services in Baytown is tremendous; we´ve literally taken the level of cardiovascular care found at the Texas Medical Center and put it in this community´s own backyard."
Following his procedure Robert went back to the ICU where he was closely monitored. Due to his speedy recovery, he was quickly downgraded to the Intermediate ICU. After further evaluation by Dr. Fischer and Dr. Leahey, they felt confident that Robert could go home to finish recovery. On Friday, only the fourth day after his open-heart surgery, Robert was discharged from SJMH. He intends on spending the rest of his recovery at home with family and subsequently a long and healthier life thereafter. "Textbook is the word I´d use to describe the procedure and the recovery. I believe that I´ll be completely back to normal in less than six weeks. I sincerely want to thank the surgical team and the physicians. They had rehearsed everything several times prior to my procedure and you could really tell. Every step was calculated and accounted for," said Robert.
The new hybrid operating room at SJMH allows physicians to perform open–heart procedures as well as complex catheter based procedures in one singular area. Essentially it combines the abilities of an OR and an advanced catheterization room. Currently SJMH has the only room of this capability in all of East Houston. For more information on the new Heart and Vascular Center at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital please call 832-556-6543.