Saturday, July 20, 2024


Last year this reporter was on the verge of being non-existent. After several bouts with chest pains and hospitals not able to find anything I was referred to Dr. Banerjee at Healing Hearts of Conroe by several MCHD Paramedics.

After a cardiac stress he found a blockage on the LAD (also called the widow maker.) He immediately scheduled me to St. Luke’s so that he could do a coronary angiography procedure.

That was on September 9, 2013, one year ago. Once the procedure was started he discovered a 99% blockage, in his words I had days left. That was at 9am, Dr. Banerjee inserted a stent, a very simple procedure that I was awake for and watching it on the screen. Was even painless.

At 8 p.m. I was released from the hospital and told to take it easy. That lasted for the night as I was already making scenes the following day.

Since then I have had several positive follow-up visits with Doctor Banerjee and his great nurse Misty.

Since that time I have seen many people who have passed do to cardiac issues and others who at the last minute were calling for help from EMS for chest pains. All I can say is you need to take symptoms seriously. Even the slightest pain. Once or twice mine was pressure on my chest, but mostly it was the knife digging in under my chin area.



100 Medical Center Blvd Suite 200
Conroe Texas 77304

Phone: 936.441.9680






Ari Banerjee, MD is an Interventional Cardiologist. He received his Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University. He attended medical school at Texas A&M University College of Medicine. Dr. Banerjee completed his Internal Medicine residency with Texas A&M University, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and completed his Cardiology and Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana.



Over the past few months this reporter has had what seemed like something sitting on my chest at times. Other times my lower jaw would start hurting.

With several trips to the hospital and normal EKG also a Cardiac Heart Scan and nothing.

It was thought to be digestive.

Then last week I was put in contact with Dr. Banerjee with the Healing Hearts Group in the Conroe Medical Center complex. Dr. Banerjee decided to try a full workup with a nuclear cardiac stress test, echocardiogram and several other tests.

After the tests an appointment was made for a week later to discuss the results. I didn’t make it to the next appointment as Dr. Banerjee called me the next morning and stated he believed I had a 80% blockage in the left anterior descending artery (LAD), also known as the “Widow Maker”.

He suggested I go to St. Lukes so that he could do a coronary angiography procedure.

I made the appointment for Monday as I knew I would be in the hospital a few days and weekends are usually quite busy in the news business. In addition thinking nothing really happens on the weekends at a hospital except lying around.

Sunday night as I was on the scene with the train crash near Cut and Shoot I started feeling a little strange but no pain. Looking at everyone else on the scene and then me I thought something may be wrong as I was sweating profusely.

I left, came home, posted the story and got some sleep for the next morning procedure which I will admit was a bit stressful.

Monday morning I went into St Lukes and was taken to the Cardiac Cath Lab.

Once again something like this worries you as to if they find something are they going to be able to fix it without open heart surgery.

The nurses cleared an area near the groin and I was given a very mild sedative.

Dr. Banerjee arrived and explained what he was about to do and went to work. I was awake through most of the procedure, watching it on the monitor.  He fed a hollow tube called a catheter into my femoral and slowly worked it up to my heart. A dye was then injected into the catheter. On the X-ray you were able to watch the blood flow to the heart. It highlights the blockages.

This was the point that Dr. Banerjee said the blockage wasn’t 80% but was actually 99.9% and even feeding the catheter through the almost non existent opening where blood was barely flowing may in fact give me chest pains as more blood would be cut off.

He then slipped a balloon down the catheter to the blockage and inflated. The inflation has such pressure that it forces the expansion of the artery. He then deflated the balloon and placed a stent in it’s place. This was close to the time it seemed like a warm flow going through your entire body, the blood was finally flowing.

The entire procedure took just over an hour. The only pain which was very mild was when the procedure was over and a plug is put in place to seal the femoral artery. Beside that it was actually quite interesting watching the entire procedure.

I was sent to a room at 12:30p.m. and released to come home at 7 p.m.

As far as I am concerned Dr. Banerjee was the best, with visits to hospitals and other tests and nothing found by them, After the tests performed by him and discovering what was really wrong.

I was told yesterday I maybe had days or maybe a week before this artery totally shut down. Dr. Banerjee said I was one of the lucky ones as many won’t just keep building. Many will get to a point and break off thereby totally shutting the blood flow off.

From the minute a widow maker hits, survival time ranges from minutes to several hours. Rapidly progressing symptoms should signal the need for immediate attention. Symptoms of initial onset may include nausea, shortness of breath, pain in the head, jaw, arms or chest, numbness in fingers, often of a novel but imprecise sensation which builds with irregular heart beat. Early symptoms may be mistaken for food poisoning, flu or general malaise until they intensify. A widow maker cannot kill instantly but induces cardiac arrest which may do so within 10 to 20 minutes of no circulation. A victim with no pulse or breath is still alive, living off oxygen stored in the blood and may be able to be rescued if treatment is begun promptly within this window.

I never had any shoulder or arm pains, only the tightness, sweating and lower jaw soreness close to the carotid  artery.

Please if you have any of these symptoms don’t wait , get it checked and if nothing is found get a second opinion. I feel if it wasn’t for the trip to Healing Hearts and Dr. Banerjee I most likely wouldn’t be reporting news much longer and Jamie as hard working as she is and the hours she spends putting the paper together every week and spending late nights having to moderate comments would be pulling double duty having to do it all.

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