Local hospital performs rare surgery to be featured on TV

Local hospital performs rare surgery to be featured on Grey's Anatomy

Posted:
The parachute device. The parachute device.
"Literally moments after we put it in, literally the pressure in his heart dropped which is good, went from high pressure to more normal pressure, and the pumping function of his heart improved within the first day," said Dr. Malcolm Foster. "Literally moments after we put it in, literally the pressure in his heart dropped which is good, went from high pressure to more normal pressure, and the pumping function of his heart improved within the first day," said Dr. Malcolm Foster.
"I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to have this procedure and be on this earth," said patient Gregg Fruchtnict. "That's all I can say." "I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to have this procedure and be on this earth," said patient Gregg Fruchtnict. "That's all I can say."

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A local health care system is among the first in the country to perform a breakthrough heart procedure.

Gregg Fruchtnict, 47, can climb stairs now without losing his breath.

"Well, I feel like I've got a little more zip in my step," he said.

Even something as simple as getting a glass of water doesn't tire him out like it did before.

He's survived two major heart attacks, and a number of heart surgeries.

The latest - a breakthrough procedure using a small parachute.

The device is inserted via a catheter so it's minimally invasive.

It partitions off the damaged heart muscle from the healthy part to improve heart function.

The technique is so new it's under review by the FDA in a clinical trial.

Gregg just had the surgery last week.

"Literally moments after we put it in, literally the pressure in his heart dropped which is good, went from high pressure to more normal pressure, and the pumping function of his heart improved within the first day," said Dr. Malcolm Foster.

Tennova's Turkey Creek Medical Center is only the third in the country to perform the surgery.

The clinical trial is looking at the safety and effectiveness of the parachute device.

Gregg is thankful he was considered a good candidate for the cutting edge technology hoping it helps his heart long term.

"I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to have this procedure and be on this earth," he said. "That's all I can say."

If you'd like to see the surgery play out on TV, it's actually the storyline on ABC's Grey's Anatomy coming up on Thursday - Valentine's Day.

Thomas Engels of the medical device company Cardiokinetix even starred next to Sandra Oh, who plays Dr. Christina Yang on the show.

He was on set to make sure producers got the procedure right and ended up getting to be an extra on the show.

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