Her Heart Was in Good Hands at TMC

Bonham Local Receives Lifesaving TAVR Procedure, Texoma Medical Center, Denison, TXApril 25, 2024

Catherine Ann Bruner is an 83-year-old former U.S. Postal Service rural carrier who lives in Bonham. She and her husband Truman were enjoying retirement together when she started feeling weak and out of breath. Fortunately, they went to Texoma Medical Center, where her condition was promptly diagnosed and treated.

Bruner was first diagnosed with “trivial” aortic stenosis in 2017. Interventional cardiologist Scott Turner, DO, FACC, had been monitoring her heart health since 2020 to keep an eye on the condition. She was mostly asymptomatic until she was on a family vacation in early 2023. That was when she first began having shortness of breath.

Coming to the hospital

Feeling very sick in the days leading up to her hospitalization, Bruner had her husband drive her to Texoma Medical Center. She felt so weak that he had to push her through the parking lot in a wheelchair to get her inside. As soon as they were through the doors, doctors wasted no time diagnosing the issue.

“TMC was great and made me feel comfortable throughout my time there,” Bruner said of the experience. Dr. Turner quickly came to see her and did not take long to determine she would need a transaortic valve replacement (TAVR).

Over the next two weeks, Dr. Turner ran various tests on Bruner to make sure she was eligible for the TAVR procedure and that she did not have any other conditions that would complicate the procedure. “I was there every other day for tests,” she said. “They did an MRI, an echocardiogram and even had me go to the dentist to make sure my gums and teeth weren’t infected.”

Performing the TAVR procedure

The TAVR procedure was performed by Dr. Turner and a surgical team that included cardiovascular surgeon Vicky Chappell, MD, FACS. Working together, they completed the surgery successfully with no complications. “Dr. Chappell told me they needed four hands for the procedure,” Bruner said. “I was very impressed with both of them.”

“I hold the device in place while the cardiologist turns the knobs. Proper placement of the valve is very critical and not always easy,” Dr. Chappell said. “This procedure is run by a team, sort of like a baseball team. The pitcher (cardiologist) may be the one on the mound, but he cannot do everyone else’s job. The team includes the primary and assistant cardiologist and multiple surgeons all working together to treat the patient.”

Bruner woke up the day after the procedure feeling well and was even able to walk a little bit. Dr. Turner came to see Bruner at 7 am and ran another echocardiogram that showed good results. A few hours later, Dr. Chappell also came to check on her. With both doctors pleased with her condition, Bruner was released from the hospital by 8:30 am.

Rebuilding her strength

Since returning home after her procedure, Bruner is slowly regaining her stamina. “I do a lot of walking and I’m a very active person,” she said. “My husband and I both ride motorcycles, and my goal is to be strong enough to ride by spring.”

Looking back on her experience, Bruner cannot say enough good things about her doctors. “I’m so grateful for the excellent care they gave me. They saved my life,” she said. “Dr. Turner and Dr. Chappell are both great. I’m glad they were on my side.”