LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For the past 25 years, Woodland Heights Medical Center has provided heart care for East Texans through various accredited programs. At one point in time there was no cardiovascular program in the region. Doctors Have been successful in providing heart care needs so that patients no longer have to travel out of town.
Dr. Ravinder Bachireddy is one of the cardiologists at Woodland Heights who started the process to begin a cardiac program.
"It is the biggest achievement that we have had in this region," said chief cardiologist Dr. Ravinder Bachireddy.
In 1987, the hospital began treating East Texans for heart disease.
"We started our open heart program actually in 1985 by beginning with a cardiac rehab program," said chief nursing officer Cathy Busbee. "In 1987 we started doing interventional cardiology and to date we've done over about 4,500 interventional cardiology procedures, and about 1,000 pacemakers. We began the first open heart procedure in July of 1988 and since then we've done over 2,000 hearts."
Cardiologists said heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the U.S.
"One third of the people who had heart attacks were dying before they reached the hospital," Bachireddy said. "The other two thirds had a lot of complications and they didn't have any effective treatment."
Without the proper local heart care Dr. Clifton Cathcart could have been a part of the one third who was dying.
"That care saved my life," Cathcart said.
In 1990, Cathcart was having trouble breathing while working out.
"I was over at the Woodland Heights cath lab and had a 99 percent blocked artery," Cathcart said. "They did an angioplasty and I've been good ever since."
Bachireddy said when he began working in Lufkin 30 years ago patients had to travel for cardiac care.
"I think if I would've had to go to Houston for the care I may have had a massive heart attack or may not have lived," Cathcart said.
The hospital's goal has been to have better technology than any other heart center in the region.
"Our results revealed that we were not only good but we were better than so many hospitals," Bachireddy said. "We're rated as the top five percent in the state."
From 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Crown Colony Country Club Woodland Heights will be celebrating "25 Years of Cardiac Excellence". Dr. Bachireddy and Dr. Sees will be guest speakers, and other special guests will be recognized throughout the event.