Donnie Deberry, 51, used to smoke. He has a family history of heart disease, and now he has it. Despite medication and treatments, he often woke up in the middle of the night with great fear.
“It's hard to get woke up that time in the morning thinking you're having a massive heart attack,” he said.
Deberry was having chest pain – angina – unrelieved by a nitroglycerin patch or the nitroglycerin tablets. He had two stents and was not a candidate for surgery. First Health Moore Regional Hospital offered him another option – a procedure called Trans Myocardial Revascularization, or TMR.
A surgeon accesses the heart through an incision in the ribs and uses a laser to create new channels in the heart muscle.
“If we could make these channels, it would somehow get blood to these tissues that we normally cannot get blood to,” said Dr. Peter Ellman, a heart surgeon with First Health Moore Regional Hospital.
Ellman says the laser burns lead to the growth of new capillaries in the muscle and desensitize many of the nerve endings that sent the chest pain signals. In studies, TMR has proven sustained results for five years or more. It's now often done in combination with heart bypass surgery.
Deberry had the TMR procedure in October and stayed in the hospital for three days.
“Within a week, I was pretty much up taking care of myself,” he said. “I'm getting the oxygen flow. My skin, my color is even back.”
Now he's dedicated to a healthy diet, building up his strength and spending more time with daughter Sierra.
“I'm 51 with a 2-year-old, and this has given me a little hope to be here for her,” Deberry said.