Miracle of the Heart: Leesville woman survives complex heart stent surgery

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - "The hope was gone, and I knew it too because I could tell I was dying," Rita Leets of Leesville said as she sat up in her chair next to her hospital bed.

The 63-year-old survived a near death experience she was all too familiar with.

"I actually had a heart attack back in October of 2016," Leets said.

On May 20, Leets found herself in the hospital again-- she'd undergone another heart attack that almost ended her life.

Her cardiologist Dr. Vik Nijjar of St. Frances Christus Cabrini Hospital, said her heart was not strong enough.

Leets has had heart stent procedures done in the past that weren't successful, but her heart attack in May sent the Leesville resident to Cabrini Hospital, where Dr. Nijjar used a device called the Impella 2.5.

The Impella 2.5 also known as the world's smallest heart stent, proved to be a milestone for central Louisiana. Leets' is not the first patient to receive the stent in the area, but the first to undergo a successful procedure.

After the four-hour procedure, she spent the last three weeks at Cabrini. Her doctor sais her optimistic attitude played a key role in her recovery. Leets said she feels "born again".

For more on Leet's story, watch the video above.

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