Beating the odds: New surgical heart procedure saves man TMs life

New procedure

An Edinburg man born with a backwards heart is celebrating another Thanksgiving thanks to a new medical procedure, which saved his life.

The 43-year-old has been able to live with congenital heart failure all his life. However, it wasn't until this October that Eloy started to feel constant chest pain and shortness of breath. He was constantly tired even when he was resting and couldn TMt even go up the stairs.

A visit to his heart doctor Dr. Luis Padula, his doctor for the past 12 years, revealed that 90 percent of Eloy TMs arteries were blocked. Padula told Eloy he had months to live unless he got surgery.

"When you look at people with congenital heart failure we grade them from zero patient feel fine to four meaning that patient cannot breathe doing nothing and rest, Padula says. This patient went from being a one to a four in a three month period meaning he wasn't able to perform any basic function."

However with a backwards heart the chances of him surviving were slim.

Dr. Luis Padula decided to try a procedure that's never been done in the Valley.

The first time it has been done here in the Valley and its probably the first time that we are aware that has been used to do an angioplasty in someone in any part of the world with anyone of this type of congenital heart disease, Padula says.

The Mcallen Heart Hospital cardiologist used a device called an Impella, a miniature pump the size of a pencil that is placed inside your heart, to pump blood when a patient is suffering from heart failure.

"This device what allows you to do is do procedures in high risk patients, patient that would otherwise not be able to tolerate either an angioplasty or a bypass surgery, Padula says. This procedure can be done in people that are going to undergo by-pass surgery, open chest." Padula spoke to Eloy and his girlfriend, Sonia Flores, bluntly about the urgency of doing this procedure for Eloy to have a chance to live.

He might not be here tomorrow and we are just looking at each other, Flores says. I could see the fear in his face and someone had to be strong so I said get it done.

The procedure took about one hour. One month later, Martinez tells us he feels like a new man and is very grateful to be alive.