Bahamian Woman Receives the World’s Smallest Heart Pump
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Angelique Williamson in need of a heart and lung transplant received the world’s smallest heart pump at the Jackson Heart Institute in Florida.
53-year-old Williamson was a patient of Dr. Romualdo Segurola, chief of cardiac surgery and medical director at the Jackson Heart Institute.
“This was the first time the Impella LD device was used in Miami-Dade County and I am proud we were able to help Ms. Williamson,” said Dr. Segurola. “It avoids complications of open-heart surgeries and helps patients who are too high-risk. It provides patients requiring high-risk, open-heart surgery procedures options rather than going straight to heart and lung transplantation.”
Williamson, a marathon runner, knew something was amiss when she realized she couldn’t climb a flight of stairs in her home without gasping for breath.
Williamson underwent a series of medical tests in the country and was later admitted when she was informed of the devastating effect on her heart and lung, and the need to seek medical care in the United States.
It was discovered that Williamson’s heart was damaged due to rheumatic fever, an autoimmune inflammatory reaction to strep throat that she suffered as a teenager.
The illness affected her heart decades later, according to doctors, leading to rheumatic heart disease, or the weakening of the heart valves.
Dr. Segurola said, “Her heart was as weak as it could possibly be. The options were a transplant, or a high-risk salvage procedure needed to save two of her heart valves.”
Dr. Segurola used a less invasive approach and performed a direct surgical placement of the device through the ascending aorta and into the left ventricle of her heart.
Once Williamson’s heart healed enough to resume working on its own, the device was removed.
Williamson began rehabilitation therapy to strengthen the heart
“Her recovery has been remarkable,” said Dr. Segurola. “I expect her to make a full recovery and return to her normal activities, including running.”