Cardiologist George Le-Bert, DO, uses high-tech echocardiography to uncover tumors
Delores Williams had numbness in her arm and thought she was having heart problems. Though her heart checked out fine at the time, she later learned she had a stroke.
Delores first experienced symptoms of numbness in 2007. Over the years, she continued to manage her racing heart on her own. Then, she scheduled an appointment for January 2013 with George Le-Bert, DO, director of Cardiopulmonary Care at Baptist Nassau.
But before her appointment rolled around, she was sent by her primary care physician to the Chest Pain Center at Baptist Nassau because she was experiencing chest discomfort and an irregular heartbeat.
Baptist Nassau is a nationally accredited Chest Pain Center specializing in rapid diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks, and is connected to the advanced capabilities of Baptist Heart Hospital, the region’s only hospital dedicated entirely to cardiovascular care.
While Delores was there, Dr. Le-Bert performed a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), which involved swallowing a small probe under conscious sedation. Dr. Le-Bert chose the exam to check for clots in the heart, but what he discovered may have unlocked the reason why Delores had a stroke in the first place. He found a small tumor on her heart valve that likely had released fragments of tissue, causing her to have a stroke.
Delores’ heart valve tumor was removed through minimally invasive cardiac surgery; she is now in cardiac rehabilitation.
Dr. Le-Bert is the first physician at Baptist Nassau to perform transesophageal echocardiograms, which can significantly improve detection of clots and tumors located deep within the heart or in the back of the heart. Traditional ultrasound tests are unlikely to detect these issues because the images may be blurred by the rib case and surrounding tissue.
Dr. Le-Bert moved to Fernandina Beach last year with his wife Carolina, a veterinarian with the National Marine Mammal Foundation.
“The nice part about practicing in a small community,” Dr. Le-Bert said, “is that it really gives you the ability to feel the way it should feel to be a doctor — to really connect with patients and take pride in the difference you try to make in their lives.”
Dr George Le-Bert of Baptist Heart Specialists is located in Nassau County. His office number is 904.261.9786.