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Minimally Invasive Heart: September, 26, 20111

Michael Bova is no stranger to heart troubles.

“I had open heart surgery, I had two bypasses and that was 10 years ago.”

So when he started experiencing chest pains, he knew it was a problem.

“At night it felt like an elephant was stepping on my chest believe it or not. So I told my wife, we got to go and get it checked out,” says Michael.

His cardiologist suspected angina.

“The classical and typical description would be someone who has a pressure or crushing type of chest pain and it typically radiates to the arms,” says Dr. Steven Lee, interventional cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Angina is the heart’s way of telling the brain something is wrong with blood flow and that the heart may not be getting the nutrients and oxygen it needs to function.

“When the heart arteries are clogged through artherosclerosis or basically clogging of the arteries from cholesterol plaques and such they can cause impairment of the blood flow and that often times manifests themselves as angina,” says Dr. Lee.

Given Michael’s history, they quickly found the problem. An artery going into his heart, the one used in the bypass surgery, was now clogged too. Ten years after his initial surgery, doctors were able to open the artery without opening his chest. Beginning with a minimally invasive angioplasty.

“That’s where we open up one or more blockages with balloons and often times we treat that with stents,” says Dr. Lee.

The before and after is dramatic. A few weeks post-procedure…

“I feel like a million bucks,” says Michael.

The difference is priceless.