Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. In Texas, the Pineywoods has the highest rate of persons affected with cardiovascular diseases when compared to other areas of the state.

St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin is always trying to find ways to lower that number through education, treatment, and accessing state-of-the-art technology.

Recently, the hospital made the announcement that they have added more cutting-edge technology to their resources in treating patients with heart issues. St. Luke's now has available the new Abbott AVEIR VR leadless pacemaker system for the treatment of certain abnormal heart rhythms.

“What sets this innovative option apart is its longer battery life,” says Subramanya G. Venkata, MD, Cardiologist with The Heart Institute of East Texas, specializing in cardiac electrophysiology and interventional cardiology. “We are already seeing the benefits of the new technology. The first two patients to receive the device in Lufkin are recovering well after successful surgeries.”

Dr. Venkata says during their first follow-up visit to his office both patients are “feeling great” and say that compared to pre-procedure it is like “day and night.” The device is retrievable at any time after implant, lessening the amount of hardware in the heart.

“St. Luke’s Health-Memorial emphasizes the importance of new technology combined with standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide efficient and effective evaluation, as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pains and other heart attack symptoms,” says Dr. M. Musa Khan, Director of Interventional Cardiology at St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin.

The Abbott AVEIR VR leadless pacemaker system is the world’s only leadless pacemaker designed to be retrieved. The system provides a new and exciting option to assist physicians in the treatment of patients. Like other leadless pacemakers, AVEIR VR does not require insulated wires - known as cardiac leads – that deliver the electrical energy to the heart. Instead, the device is implanted directly into the heart’s right lower chamber using a minimally invasive procedure.

Contributed Photo/St. Luke's
Contributed Photo/St. Luke's

The most common reason people get a pacemaker is their heart beats too slowly (called bradycardia), or it pauses, causing fainting spells or other symptoms. In some cases, the pacemaker may also be used to prevent or treat a heartbeat that is too fast (tachycardia) or irregular.

“The Heart Institute of East Texas physicians and St. Luke’s Health - Memorial are committed to transforming cardiovascular care in Deep East Texas. One of the ways we are making that happen is by bringing the latest technology and procedures in cardiology to Lufkin. We are proud of Dr. Venkata for performing this new state-of-the-art procedure that has the ability to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.” Ravinder Bachireddy, Chief of Cardiology at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin.

It takes a large team of dedicated professionals to sustain a nationally recognized heart care program. St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin in partnership with The Heart Institution of East Texas has one of the highest accredited and busiest heart programs in East Texas which has enabled them to improve and reduce the variability of outcomes.

“St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin is excited to offer this new technology. It speaks to the heart of our mission which is to offer the best standard of care to our patients,” says Monte Bostwick, Market President of St. Luke’s Health-Memorial (East Texas).

Contributed Photo/St. Luke's Health
Contributed Photo/St. Luke's Health

Dr. George Fidone's Artwork

Dr. George Fidone is a very popular pediatrician in East Texas. Recently, he discovered he also has quite a talent for painting. Here are some of his wonderful paintings.


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