Durham VA helping detect heart ailments in veterans - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Durham VA helping detect heart ailments in veterans

Posted: Updated:
Cardiac catheterization, pioneered by Dr. Sunil Rao, is a new, seemingly painful procedure that uses the wrist as the entry point for a catheter. Cardiac catheterization, pioneered by Dr. Sunil Rao, is a new, seemingly painful procedure that uses the wrist as the entry point for a catheter.
DURHAM, N.C. -

A new technique created to detect heart ailments is helping doctors treat an increasing number of veterans. 

Cardiac catheterization, pioneered by Dr. Sunil Rao, is a new, seemingly painless procedure that uses the wrist as the entry point for a catheter. 

The specialized procedure takes about 45 minutes while the patient is still awake, allowing most to go home the same day. 

Cardiac catheterization is being used at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center on vets like Jerry Lee Ashley. He is a former Marine and Vietnam veteran. 

Ashley is at the Durham VA in hopes to catch any problems with his heart. 

"We Know that the burden of heart disease is very high among veterans," Dr. Rao said. "Some of that has to do with the fact that the majority of veterans that we're seeing are still men."

Dr. Rao performs the minimally invasive cardiac catheterization procedure on Ashley. After just 45 minutes, Ashley is done and the hospital staff can begin to look at the results of the procedure. 

The x-ray will show if there are any blockages or abnormalities. 

The test showed that Ashley has abnormally thin valves. A condition that may require open heart surgery. 

Last year, the Durham VA performed over a thousand of these procedures, more than any other VA in the country. 

Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

  • Iraq's top Shiite cleric appeals to politicians

    Iraq's top Shiite cleric appeals to politicians

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:38 AM EDT2014-08-01 11:38:15 GMT
    The United Nations says 1,737 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Iraq in July, marking a dramatic decline from the previous month, when some 2,400 people were killed as Sunni militants swept across large...
    Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric is appealing to politicians not to be "an obstacle" in the process of transition as Iraq nears a deadline to select its next prime minister.
  • 35 killed, soldier missing as Gaza truce unravels

    35 killed, soldier missing as Gaza truce unravels

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:22 AM EDT2014-08-01 11:22:40 GMT
    A three-day cease-fire in the Gaza Strip has gone into effect following heavy Israel-Hamas fighting.
    A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled Friday as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying one of its soldiers may have been abducted.
  • Large expert team reaches Ukraine crash site

    Large expert team reaches Ukraine crash site

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:33 AM EDT2014-08-01 10:33:39 GMT
    Ukrainian authorities said Friday that at least 10 government troops were killed in an ambush by pro-Russian separatists in an area near the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but international inspectors...
    A team of several dozen international investigators descended Friday on the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site in eastern Ukraine to begin combing an area now designated as a crime scene.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.