State of the Heart.

Home / Health Tips & Info / State of the Heart.


State of the Heart


In 2011, Roanoke Rapids resident Barry Babb retired after 30 years as a cabinetmaker with NC Glass in Gaston. Not one to sit around, the 62-year-old now provides lawn care services for a small group of customers. And when he experienced chest pains while mowing one morning in August last year, he knew what he had to

“My blood pressure was a little high, so I called my wife and said I needed to go to the hospital,” Babb says. “When the medical center staff learned I was a heart patient, they immediately got me into a room and discussed doing a heart catheterization.”

Babb initially was hesitant. He had had a catheterization at another hospital following a heart attack in August of 2016. This time around, he considered returning to that hospital until he spoke with his son-in-law, Henry Robertson, an ICU nurse at Halifax Regional, and Haile Jones, MD, medical director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Halifax Regional. “My son-in-law said he would trust [Dr. Jones] with his life,” Babb remembers. “When Dr. Jones said he was just an instrument of God, I began to feel at ease.”


Heart catheterizations use a long thin tube inserted into an artery to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions. The procedure allows physicians to check for blocked coronary arteries and problems in the heart itself. Blockages are sometimes opened through the placement of a stent during a procedure called coronary angioplasty.

Following Babb’s recent catheterization, the decision was made to tweak his medications if necessary. Babb’s heart health continues to be top-of-mind. Back in 2016, Babb’s cardiologist had told Babb that his genetics — likely not his lifestyle — caused the heart attack. He and his wife, Polly, were walking three miles per day at the time, eating right (Babb is a former U.S. Navy cook) and getting plenty of rest. They now walk indoors and out two miles per day and sometimes up to five. “I figured it up — in the last 25 years, we’ve walked over 27,000 miles,” he says.


Halifax Regional’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab, which opened in 2009 and began performing interventions in 2015, was the result of studies that showed high mortality rates related to amputations and an increase in cardiac transfers following catheterization treatment away from the medical center. “Because we offer state-of-the-art care, people in our community and surrounding counties no longer have to travel to a big city for cardiac care,” says Dr. Jones.

“We provide personal, close-knit, family oriented care and faster appointments.” For Babb, having the lab nearby adds a level of comfort and confidence. “I didn’t want my family to have to travel back and forth and find babysitters for the kids,” he says. “It’s a relief to me to know we have a facility right here that can do the procedure.”

Translate »