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Methodist Willowbrook Hospital Physician Performs First Heart Tumor Removal Procedure of Its Kind on the Campus


April 10, 2012 - HOUSTON, TX

Dr. Devinder Bhatia of Methodist Willowbrook Hospital performed the hospital's first atrial myxoma resection, the removal of a noncancerous tumor from a patient's heart.

The complex surgery entailed the delicate opening of the heart itself. The patient remains on a heart bypass machine while the surgical team uses ultrasound guidance to locate the tumor. It is important that the tumor be removed intact.

According to Dr. Bhatia, who specializes in cardiovascular surgery at Methodist, the procedure was a success and the patient is recovering well.

"Heart tumors are difficult to diagnose because their symptoms closely resemble those of other conditions. This patient is a male in his 50s, who had experienced no previous cardiovascular problems until recently, when he began fainting repeatedly. A thorough examination revealed a benign tumor, a myxoma, about the size of a lemon on the upper-left side of the patient's heart," said Bhatia.

"I am very pleased to offer this type of highly specialized care in a community hospital like Methodist Willowbrook. Once these patients required transfer to the medical center, but we have demonstrated with our entire multidisciplinary team at Methodist Willowbrook that we can do these cases safely in the community setting," Bhatia added.

According to the National Cancer Institute, tumors in the heart are extremely rare -- an incidence rate of 0.25 percent or less. While several different types of heart tumors have been identified, myxoma is the most common.

"This surgery is an important milestone for Methodist Willowbrook's growing cardiovascular program," said Patricia Worley, RN, BSN, Director of Surgical Services for Methodist Willowbrook.

"It demonstrates not only our ability to perform complex surgeries but also builds confidence within the medical community -- allowing physicians to feel comfortable bringing their cases here," said Worley.

Expanding its NW Houston campus, Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has received its chest pain and stroke accreditations, performs complex surgeries such as neurosurgery and open heart, boasts a state-of-the-art orthopedic, sports medicine and rehabilitation center and focuses on women and children in its new Women's & Children's Pavilion.

For more information on the scope of services available on the Methodist Willowbrook campus, please visit www.methodistwillowbrook.com. For a physician referral, call (281) 737-2500.

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