Recently, musician, artist, and Air Force Veteran Stanley Mitchell received unsettling news. The fine electronic wire lead that connects his pacemaker battery to the chamber of his heart was no longer functioning properly. For most people in this situation, the only choice is to live with the knowledge that the device implanted to keep them alive is not working or choose to have highly invasive open-heart surgery in order to replace the electronic leads. Fortunately for Mr. Mitchell he is a patient of the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC and had another option – Laser Lead Extraction.
Instead of a complex and grueling operation, Mr. Mitchell was given a mild sedative and local anesthetic and the dysfunctional leads were quickly and smoothly removed and replaced allowing him to be discharged and home the following day.
Mitchell said that the procedure was painless, “[I] only felt some pressure near the insertion point as I woke up from the procedure.” For Mr. Mitchell the hardest part was prior to the procedure. “Having this thing in my chest and not knowing what was wrong with it caused a lot of anguish, however, Dr. Goli helped me understand what was wrong and how he was going to fix it.” Mr. Mitchell said. “Dr. Goli is one of the most fantastic doctors I have ever met!”
Read more about the advanced medical technology and treatments at Charles George VAMC.
Randy McCracken is a U.S. Army Veteran, former medic, computer specialist, and now My HealtheVet Coordinator for the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC.