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Avinger Ocelot Catheter System Treats Totally Blocked Arteries Using Light Waves For Navigation

Roanoke Rapids, NC (June 23, 2016) –Halifax Regional Medical Center is the first and only hospital in North Carolina, as well as Virginia and South Carolina, to currently use a new catheter system to restore blood flow in  patients suffering from the painful symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD). The new technology is part of Halifax Regional’s commitment to improving the health of residents of the Roanoke Valley region.

The Ocelot catheter allows physicians, for the first time ever, to see inside an artery. The procedure, called optical coherence tomography (OCT), uses light waves to produce high quality images of the insides of blood vessels. OCT allows physicians to more accurately navigate through totally blocked arteries without damaging healthy artery walls. The procedure also avoids the need to rely on x-ray and feel to guide catheters through the vessel.

Haile Jones, MD, interventional cardiologist at Halifax Regional, was the first physician in North Carolina to use the new Ocelot system, with the first procedure performed on May 24, 2016, on a 72 year old male patient.

“This is a game-changer for patients with 100 percent blockages,” said Dr. Jones. “We are excited to have more opportunities to treat patients in a lot less invasive manner.”

The procedure, performed at Halifax Regional Cardiac and Vascular Lab, has been used on four patients since May, and the Lab expects to perform about 50 per year.

Peripheral artery disease, caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries that blocks blood flow to the legs and feet,greatly impacts quality of life. Patients with PAD regularly experience painful cramping, numbness, or discoloration in the legs and feet. Frequently dismissed as normal signs of aging, symptoms of PAD can become so severe and difficult to treat that patients often undergo invasive bypass surgeries that result in greater health risks and lengthy, painful recoveries.The Ocelot system allows severe blockages to be treated in a minimally-invasive manner, and requires less exposure to x-rays and dyes compared with traditional treatments.

“The Ocelot system allows us to go beyond what we used to do,” Dr. Jones said. “I am finding a higher success rate for patients with a complete blockage that, before, I would have sent straight to surgery.”

To learn more about the Ocelot procedure or other services at the Cardiac and Vascular Lab, call (252) 535-8159 or visit

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for May 2016

(Left to Right)W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Mildred Waye, LPN and Care Partner on West Wing, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for May.  There to congratulate Mildred was Mellisa Black, Acute Care Nursing Director, and Ursula Butts, Vice President of Patient Care Services.

Mildred has been employed at VCU Health CMH for 36 years and this is her sixth time receiving this honor.  Her dedication and work ethic are just two of the qualities that make her a wonderful asset to VCU Health CMH.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “Mildred showed professionalism in her job.  She was knowledgeable in knowing my health problems.  She showed excellent personal care and showed good workmanship while working with her team.”  “Mildred and all of our nursing assistant team demonstrate professionalism and compassion.  This is especially meaningful remarks coming from a patient noting excellent service.”  “Mildred is an advocate for teamwork. She is dependable, hardworking and always has a good attitude toward patients, staff, and visitors.  She cares about doing her best to help patients and others.  I never have to worry about finding help when Mildred is on the floor.  Mildred is the best to work with.”

In addition to the award certificate, Mildred received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

Library Kicks off Summer Reading Program with Carnival

            The Meherrin Regional Library invites you to step right up and be a part of our Summer Reading Program: Read for the Win on Thursday, June 30th.  We will have fun indoor carnival games and much more.  The event will be held at 10:30 am at the Brunswick County Library, Lawrenceville, and 2:00 pm at the Richardson Memorial Library, Emporia. 

            Events begin promptly and seating is limited to a first come basis.  For more information contact the Brunswick County Library 434-848-2418, ext. 301, the Richardson Library at 434-634-2539, or visit

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