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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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President George H. W. Bush Visits Houston VA Medical Center

December 23, 2003

President George H. W. Bush Visits Houston VA Medical Center

Released: 2003/12/23

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photo by Agenda Burnett, HVAMC Media Section

From right, President George H. W. Bush is introduced by Ruth Bush, M.D., HVAMC vascular surgeon, Alan Lumsden, M.D., HVAMC vascular surgeon, and Peter Lin, M.D., chief of Houston VA Medical Center Vascular Surgery Section to veteran Hillyard Tennison. Mr. Tennison was treated for an abdominal aneurysm earlier this year with a new, minimally invasive procedure called "endovascular stent grafting".

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photo by Agenda Burnett, HVAMC Media Section

During a stop on his tour of the Houston VA Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Unit, President George H. W. Bush visits with U.S. Navy veteran John Sandidge.

HOUSTON, TX - President George H. W. Bush visited the Houston VA Medical Center (HVAMC) on December 18, 2003 to meet with veterans and learn about the medical center's vascular surgery program.

The President was greeted by HVAMC Director Edgar L. Tucker and Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine's Chancellor Emeritus and internationally known as the father of modern cardiovascular surgery.

Peter Lin, M.D., chief of the HVAMC Vascular Surgery Section and Ruth Bush, M.D., a HVAMC vascular surgeon gave the President a presentation about the VA's cutting-edge and minimally-invasive treatment strategies for patients with vascular diseases. Included in the briefing was information about the new and innovative ways to treat patients with aortic aneurysms and carotid disease.

An aortic aneurysm is a ballooning of the largest artery in the body, which can result in rupture and death. Lin explained to the President that a catheter is now used to insert a sleeve-like device through the groin to effectively treat the aortic aneurysm. This technique can be used for aortic aneurysms both in the abdomen and in the chest. Patients treated with this new technique, also known as endovascular repair, typically spent two days in the hospital, in contrast to two to three weeks if they undergo the traditional open surgery.

President Bush also learned about the latest treatment available for carotid artery occlusive disease, a condition in which severe blockage in the neck artery can impair the blood flow to the brain and can result in the patient suffering a stroke. The traditional treatment, which was pioneered by DeBakey, is performed through a neck incision in which the blockage is removed from the neck artery, followed by the repair of the artery. Lin and Bush went into detail about the new technique, a minimally-invasive way of treating the neck artery blockage using a small catheter to deliver a stent through the groin to open up the neck artery.

The HVAMC has one of the largest minimally-invasive vascular surgery programs in the VA system and has treated veterans from all across the country. The President met with several veterans and their families during his visit.

Tillman Guillory and his wife, Loretta, of Kinder, Louisiana told the President that his abdominal aneurysm operation was performed with minimal discomfort and he was able to go home the next day. They expressed their pleasure with the care provided by the HVAMC for his endovascular aneurysm operation.

Charles Berry, who served in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1960, underwent a carotid stent placement this past year because the narrowing of one of his arteries. "These doctors saved my life. All the doctors and nurses were just superb when I had the stent procedure," said Berry.

Following the President's visit with HVAMC vascular patients, he also toured the Spinal Cord Injury Unit and wished a Merry Christmas to veterans, family members, and staff there. He signed numerous autographs and graciously had his picture taken with whoever asked.

The President praised the HVAMC management, physicians, nurses, and staff members for the quality of care provided to our Nation's veterans. "It's just amazing to learn about these new ways of treating patients with vascular diseases. I'm glad that our veterans are receiving such a high quality of care," said the President.

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Point of Contact: VHAHOU Public Affairs

04/21/04 08:25