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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Leading Cardiologist Joins Houston VA Staff

July 12, 2006

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Pictured with Cardiac Cath Lab Staff Nurse Aleyamma George, RN, David Paniagua, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. recently joined the staff of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology, Paniagua will serve as the co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.
Photo: Bobbi D. Gruner, MEDVAMC Public Affairs Officer


HOUSTON - David Paniagua, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. has joined the staff of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC). Paniagua will serve as the co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory under the Medical Care Line.

In late 2004, the MEDVAMC opened a new state-of-the-art cardiac intervention laboratory in response to the growing number of veterans needing specialized cardiac care. The new lab incorporated a technologically advanced x-ray system for capturing and viewing detailed images of a patient’s coronary structure.

MEDVAMC physicians use this equipment to see and work inside and near the heart and in other major arteries, making diagnoses, opening blocked vessels, and dissolving or fragmenting blood clots. A key component of the lab is flat detector technology, offering sharper, more detailed x-ray images. This equipment speeds diagnoses, reduces radiation dose, and provides faster imaging times. It is fully digital and plays an important role in offering heart patients a safe and effective alternative to surgery. 

The x-ray system works along side an innovative image storage system, which allows for rapid retrieval and viewing of previous cardiac catheterization results from key areas in the hospital such as the Cardiac Care Unit and the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. These images can also be exchanged via special Intranet connections with other VA medical facilities providing opportunities for consultation at a distance.

Paniagua, a native of Costa Rica, graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Costa Rice School of Medicine. He trained in internal medicine and cardiology in Costa Rica, Japan, and the United States. He completed his Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital/Texas Heart Institute and received advanced training in cardiology research at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a fellow of the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Intervention.

An assistant professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Paniagua has worked as an interventional cardiologist at Texas Heart Institute/St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University. He is founder and medical director for research and development for endoluminal technology. Fluent in English and Spanish along with a basic knowledge of French and Japanese, Paniagua has published several books about electrocardiography and written many articles in the field of interventional cardiology and clinical outcome.

Paniagua has a special interest in heart valve research. He and his team have developed a percutaneous heart valve that can be implanted using catheter techniques instead of open heart surgery. The Paniagua team performed the first human retrograde percutaneous heart valve implantation in the world in 2002.

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