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Local woman undergoes procedure during live broadcast

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 05 2013 05:00:22 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 05 2013 04:22:57 PM CDT

A local woman is capturing the eyes and ears of doctors from across the country.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

A local woman is capturing the eyes and ears of doctors from across the country.

She's using her own unique medical procedure to help others.

This is part of our 'Live Red' partnership with Wellmont Health System that we bring you every fifth of the month to raise awareness about women's heart disease.

News 5 found out how this procedure could impact the hearts of women across the nation:

Just hours before she's under the bright lights of an operating room, Ruby Quillen is quiet and collected. "Calm as I can be. Don't mind me a bit," said Quillen.

You might never know, she's about to be put in front of a camera while doctors perform a unique vascular procedure in front of hundreds of people.

You see, Quillen has no pulse in her left arm. Her artery is blocked.

We learned her condition puts her at risk for a major stroke involving her brain stem.

Dr. Chris Metzger, an interventional cardiologist with the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute will be fixing Quillen's problem during a live video broadcast to a massive medical conference. He uses a catheter and a stent to open up her blockage.

We learned about 1,000 medical professionals from across the nation will be watching Dr. Metzger from the conference in New Orleans. Dr. Metzger will be able to explain what he's going during the procedure; turning his cath lab into something of a classroom. "You get to see the tips and tricks of how to do [the procedure] correctly, and you take away a lot from watching that live," said Dr. Metzger.  

Dr. Metzger said since Quillen's condition, called peripheral artery disease, is a prime indicator there may be other blockages in the heart; this is also a way to put an emphasis to the medical world that women are not immune from coronary artery disease. "It is nice to recognize that women have this disease, and then you look for the coronary disease, and you can prevent them from having a cardiac event later," said Dr. Metzger.

For Ruby Quillen, the thought of helping other women just like her is worth the added attention. "I was a caregiver for [over 30] years, and if I could help anyone, why not?" asked Quillen.

Quillen will also leave with a pulse in her left arm and a long life ahead of her.

"I've got great-grand babies that I want to live to see them grow up, So, I'm going to have to take care of myself," said Quillen.

You can help prevent peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, like eating healthy foods, exercising, and watching your blood pressure and cholesterol.