Kris Kirkman, 48, is a husband, father, and sales director from Zachary, LA. Though he has a family history of heart disease and has lived with hypertension for 20 years, Kris rarely saw a physician. After experiencing shortness of breath, fluid buildup around his abdomen, and difficulty sleeping in December 2020, Kris visited Baton Rouge General Physicians – Zachary. He was prescribed medication and sent home.
Kris’ symptoms gradually became more severe over the next two months. When he experienced trouble breathing, Kris’ wife brought him to Baton Rouge General - Bluebonnet where he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and an ejection fraction of 20%. He was told he was too high-risk for bypass surgery and discharged home with a LifeVest.
Kris was then referred to CIS interventional cardiologist, Niksad Abraham, MD. Dr. Abraham identified Kris as an appropriate candidate for a Protected Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) procedure with Impella®. Protected PCI is a newer, yet widely-used procedure using Impella®, the world’s smallest heart pump, to temporarily assist the pumping function of the heart. During a PCI procedure, the Impella® heart pump ensures blood flow is maintained to critical organs such as the brain, lungs, and kidneys. The heart is allowed to rest, as the pump takes over the job of efficiently moving the blood while the blockages in coronary arteries are being repaired.
"I looked at the angiogram with Kris and we worked as a team and decided, based on his heart function, that protected PCI would be the best way to go," said Dr. Abraham.
The following week, Kris returned for the scheduled procedure where Dr. Abraham performed a complete revascularization with the Impella CP® heart pump. He was discharged home the next day. During his most recent follow up, Kris’ ejection fraction improved to 45%. Today, Kris is back to working full-time and enjoying a healthier lifestyle with his wife and three children. "I feel wonderful and totally refreshed," he said.
A year later, Kirkman returned to Cardiovascular Institute of the South and met with everyone who helped him during his recovery.
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