Balloon Angioplasty Comes to RMH

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

When you're having a heart attack, every second counts. Thanks to a new addition at RMH, patients will not have to travel to Charlottesville for a life-saving procedure.

We found out how one doctor is making a difference in people's lives.

"It was just this one really heavy thud and pain right here in the middle."

Harrisonburg resident Myron Augsburger was having a heart attack.

"They went in, ran the tube up through. You didn't feel it going up," says Augsburger. "Where they put it in there was pain, but no problem. Then all at once there it was on the screen."

Augsburger was undergoing a balloon angioplasty, designed to clear away a blockage in his arteries. In the past, he would have had to travel to Charlottesville for the procedure. Getting the treatment at RMH saved valuable time.

"With heart attacks it makes a big difference," says Dr. Mark Warner, an interventional cardiologist "Typically the heart muscle will start to die within 20 minutes of chest pain. We believe that most of the damage is complete by four hours after the onset."

Dr. Warner is the newest member of the cardiology team at RMH. He's had over 15 years of experience and has performed nearly 1,500 of this type of surgery. Hospital officials say his presence was sorely needed.

"Our residents here that need these types of services will not have to leave our community now," says Dave Grembi, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at RMH. "And secondly it just really helps us to continue with our goal and our mission of providing a comprehensive range of heart services."

For his part, Augsburger is glad Dr. Warner is around.

"I don't know what would've happened without the attention," says Augsburger. "I'm grateful for that. I could have had something far more serious."

Augsburger will undergo physical therapy for the next four-to-six weeks. RMH says it performs 4-5 of these surgeries a week.


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