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Virginia Man Finds Activities Restored with Unique New Stent

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Dr. Bob Applegate (right) and Dr. Sanjay Gandhi (left) holding the tiny Absorb stent.

Thomas Leroy Walls, 63, didn’t realize retirement would negatively affect his health. But after years of physically demanding masonry work, his more sedentary life at home took its toll. 

Not long after retirement Walls, of Independence, VA, gained about 20 pounds. He often struggled to catch his breath and he couldn’t keep up with his grandchildren.

“I’ve got custody of my three grandkids and I worried about what would happen to them if something really bad happened to me,” said Walls.

His doctor told him to get a stress test – and not a moment too soon. While taking the test, Walls passed out.  

Severity of the Problem

The stress test revealed Walls had a clogged artery, a condition that can cause a heart attack or stroke. 

Walls was immediately taken by ambulance to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the first hospital in the region to offer a new kind of stent to treat clogged arteries.

The Absorb GT1 Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold System is an absorbable stent that dissolves within two to three years – after the artery has repaired itself and is functioning properly again. 

Dr. Sanjay Gandhi, interventional cardiologist at Wake Forest Baptist, performed the minimally invasive surgery to place the stent in Walls. 

Back Home and Getting Better

The day after surgery, Walls was back home and working to improve his health by reevaluating his diet. He eliminated breads, pasta and even sweets from his meals.

“I can’t tell that I had surgery except that now I can breathe better,” he said. “I don’t get out of breath walking up the stairs after feeding my dog.”

Today Walls is happy being able to take care of his grandkids without pain or shortness of breath.

Learn more about the Absorb stent.

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Last Updated: 03-06-2017
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