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Harlingen Medical Center Gives Patients the Support They Need to Live With World's Smallest Heart Pump

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Harlingen Medical Center Gives Patients the Support They Need to Live With World's Smallest Heart Pump

Harlingen – He is feeling well and enjoying the company of his family today. But, Guadalupe Hernandez, 88, of Santa Rosa, was not always doing that well. The husband, father and grandfather was experiencing chest pain and other symptoms that come with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). His age and medical condition did not make him an ideal candidate for open heart surgery, but, it did make him an ideal candidate for the Impella® 2.5 Catheter, the world's smallest heart pump, available at Harlingen Medical Center, one of the leading heart hospitals in South Texas.

Heart Graphic

"I am very grateful that this [cardiac procedure] was available here, near our home," said Cristina Hernandez, daughter of Mr. Hernandez. "From what I understand this is a highly advanced procedure and I was not aware that this was available in Harlingen. But, I'm glad to now know that it is and it can help people, like my father."

Mr. Hernandez was the first patient in Cameron County to reap the benefits of the Impella® 2.5 Catheter. He had a weak heart and had blockages in two arteries; one in the front of the heart and another in the back of the heart. He required the implementation of two promus premiere drug eluding stents. But, first, he had to have his heart stabilized so that it was able to function properly. And, that's where the Impella came in to assist.

The medical state in which Hernandez found himself was not prime condition for a patient to undergo open heart surgery. The risks were too high.

According Abiomed, Inc., the Impella® 2.5 Catheter is an intravascular microaxial blood pump that is designed to support a patient's circulatory system, or blood flow, when the heart is too weak or damaged to function properly on its own. The heart pump replicates the natural function of the heart by creating a vortex, moving blood from the heart and out into the rest of the body, thus creating an increased cardiac output.

The Impella® 2.5 Catheter, also called a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), is housed inside a catheter which is inserted through an artery in the leg, moved up toward the chest, and placed inside the left chamber of the heart within a few minutes.

Once the Impella® 2.5 Catheter was placed in Mr. Hernandez' heart, his blood pressure was stabilized, giving his heart support with the pump allowing his care to move forward with a high-risk, complex angioplasty. The heart pump allowed the drug-coated stents to be inserted into the two blocked arteries, which then allowed for blood circulation in and out of his heart - helping Mr. Hernandez avoid open heart surgery all together.

Once it was established that the circulation of blood through the treated arteries was rectified, the Impella® 2.5 Catheter was removed.

"I felt good," said Mr. Hernandez when asked about how he felt after the procedure. "I am very grateful to Dr. Eduardo Flores for not only improving my life, but for probably saving my life too. I am very happy."

About The Cardiovascular Center at HMC

The Cardiovascular Center at Harlingen Medical Center is paving the way for progressive treatment of cardiac patients. The award-winning and nationally recognized hospital specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It features a top-ranked heart team that provides minimally-invasive diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as advanced cardiac and vascular interventions, such as angioplasty, stenting, cardiac ablation, open heart surgery, minimally invasive heart valve repair and replacement, and coronary artery bypass graft.

To learn more about Harlingen Medical Center, log on to

National Heart Month Observed at HMC

February is National Heart Month and Harlingen Medical Center will showcase several events that will offer health and wellness education for the general public. Every Wednesday, in February, the hospital will host its highly anticipated Heart Doc Talk Lectures at 6:00 p.m. in the Medical Office Building (MOB) Conference Room. It will host its Annual Healthy Heart Expo on Friday, February 5, 2016 at 8:00 a.m., in the hospital's Main Lobby. And, every Friday, HMC will offer its Stroke Prevention – Vascular Screening's at the Radiology and Imaging Department. To learn more about any of these events, contact the Business Development and Marketing Department at 956-365-1848.