Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Procedure opens up new life for heart patients.(Health)

Byline: Jackie Jadrnak Journal Staff Writer

* Laser cuts small channels to get needed oxygen to muscle

You wouldn't think poking a series of holes in your heart would make it stop hurting.

But that's exactly what Robert Williams had done to ease his severe angina, and he was pretty optimistic about his chances a few days after the mid-January procedure. "I feel really good about it," the Lemitar man said.

Williams was the first recipient of a transmyocardial revascularization (TMR) performed in New Mexico, according to Paul Levy, the cardiothoracic/vascular surgeon who did the procedure at the Heart Hospital of New Mexico.

A TMR is used for people whose heart muscles are starving for oxygen because blood vessels are clogged. It's used only when a patient is not a good candidate for a heart bypass operation or an angioplasty, which opens blood vessels with a balloon or stent. Sometimes it is used in combination with a bypass, Levy said.

"Bypass grafting and stenting are the gold standard to get flow from the aorta to the heart muscle," he said. …

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