Navy Veteran Enjoying the Outdoors Following Protected PCI With Impella® Procedure


Walter Meekins, 79, is a husband, father, Navy Veteran and retired millwright from Houston. In February 2021, Walter began experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain. He drove to the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and was brought emergently to the catheterization lab. 

Physicians discovered that all three of his coronary arteries were diseased with multiple narrowings and blockages. They recommended him for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), but Walter was apprehensive about the surgery and declined. Drs. Mirza Umair Khalid and David Paniagua then identified Walter as an appropriate candidate for Protected PCI with Impella® due to the severity and extent of his coronary artery disease.   

Drs. Khalid and Paniagua inserted the Impella CP® with SmartAssist® heart pump to provide hemodynamic support which allowed the angioplasty procedure to be done more safely by giving the physicians time to optimize the placement of stents to open Walter's blocked arteries. Following the procedure, Impella was removed. Walter returned home after two days and resumed normal activities within a week. Today, Walter enjoys repairing small engines, working on his lawn and enjoying time with his wife, Rita.

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