The GW Heart & Vascular Institute hosted its fourth annual medical mission to Honduras in August 2013. The Institute's medical mission team led by GW cardiologists Cynthia Tracy, MD, and Marco Mercader, MD, traveled to Centro Medico Comayagua Colonial Hospital in Comayagua, Honduras, to provide free treatment of heart rhythm disorders to patients who cannot afford specialty healthcare. The four person team, which included Fernando Najera and John Naylor, implanted a total of 42 devices during the eleven day trip.
Dr. Mercader and Dr. Tracy evaluated more than 100 patients during their two-week visit to determine which patients would receive one of the 42 medical devices (pacemakers and defibrillators) available. Many of the patients who had received devices in prior years were evaluated for follow up care as they returned for their device check up. The medical mission has gained popularity in the area and it is now advertised on local TV and radio stations within the region. Patients traveled up to seven hours to be seen and evaluated by our team.
Earlier this year, complimenting the Honduras mission, the GW Heart & Vascular Institute brought two Honduran physicians to George Washington University for intensive training on monitoring patients who have pacemakers and defibrillators. Drs. Tracy and Mercader visited these physicians at their new pacemaker/defibrillator follow up clinic in Comayagua. On this trip, the medical mission team also provided education to physicians, nurses, and patients. Dr. Mercader gave a didactic lecture on advanced pacemaker care to the physicians and nurses who work at Centro Medico Comayagua Colonial. This training is part of our vision to provide a sustainable cardiac clinic in Comayagua.
This medical mission is made possible each year solely by charitable donations and voluntary staff and physician participation. Dr. Tracy has acquired more than $1 million worth of medical devices and equipment donated from industry sponsors and GW Hospital. Since the first mission to Honduras in 2010, the medical mission team has evaluated more than 400 heart patients and implanted a total of 130 heart pacemakers and defibrillators.
To support future missions to Honduras, please make a donation online by visiting: www.gwheartandvascular.org