THE WOODLANDS, TX – They say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Actually, for Dr. Scott Greenberg of The Woodlands North Houston Heart Center, it is sometimes more accessible by leg.
dr. Scott Greenberg knows how to reach someone’s heart
Greenberg is a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist whose specialty is making sure his patients’ hearts are in top shape. One aspect of that specialty is ensuring that he is current and proficient with the latest advanced cardiac technology and techniques.
A shining example of this technology is in the form of pacemakers, which have evolved over the years from large, clunky, ephemeral, microwave-hating devices to state-of-the-art, sleek, durable, and minuscule works of wonder. Greenberg installs between twenty and thirty per month.
“The current pacemaker is far advanced compared to what people usually imagine,” he said. “They work fine around microwaves and even some MRIs, and the current top models are about the size of a silver dollar.”
A recent advance in pacemaker technology is the creation of the “wireless” pacemaker, which is – amazingly enough – about the size of a paper clip. These mini pacemakers are implanted through a small incision in the leg and send an artery up to the heart. As the name implies, there are no cords – wires – involved in this device. Unlike traditional pacemakers, leadless pacemakers do not require an incision in the chest to implant the device or heart wires to deliver therapy.
“Traditionally, pacemaker implants have been a complicated procedure with noticeable after-effects,” Greenberg said. “Cutting the incision in the trunk made it difficult for a patient to raise his or her arm afterwards, and there was significant recovery time. The cordless models have only a single incision with one stitch in the leg, and the patient can usually go home the next day without any significant restrictions.”
In addition, traditional wired models contain batteries that last eight years. The new wireless models can last between 16-18 years.
The technology of leadless pacemakers is so new that Greenberg was one of the first to install it. “This field is as high-tech as it gets,” he said. “It is constantly pushing boundaries and moving forward. Even though I completed my fellowship six years ago, it’s old news now and it’s vital that I keep up to date with the news, techniques and protocols.”
Greenberg, born and raised in Denver, Colorado, is the oldest son of another heart doctor. “My father is an interventional cardiologist,” he said. “I originally planned to do neurology, but I soon realized that I liked the heart more than the brain.” He completed undergraduate studies and medical school at the University of Colorado.
“After that I decided I needed to see something different, so I studied at Cornell in New York. Then I changed location again and did my fellowship training at the Texas Heart Institute.” He planned to return to Colorado, but cardiology king Dr. Vince Aquino stepped in and offered Greenberg a job at The Woodlands North Houston Heart Center in 2015. A year later, Greenberg completed his fellowship and has remained here ever since.
“I love The Woodlands,” he said. “It’s so picturesque.”
Greenberg enjoys spending time with his two daughters, ages 5 and 7, and his wife. “We just celebrated our 10th anniversary, a very special event considering that we got married in that one week I had open between the move between New York and Houston.”
While at work, Greenberg’s dedication is constant and unyielding. “Training is ongoing,” he says. “My work involves more than just implanting pacemakers; I also do what are known as ablations, mapping the body’s electrical systems and repairing atrial fibrillations. This field has really evolved and I’m so happy to be a part of it as it continues to evolve.”