For those with aortic stenosis, this minimally invasive procedure may be right for you
Mary Gentry, 78, loves to be active and includes walking as part of her daily regimen. But last fall, she started noticing shortness of breath just from making her bed and walking to her mailbox. She made an appointment to see her doctor, TexomaCare Cardiologist Scott Turner, DO, FACC. Little did she know, she would become the first patient at Texoma Medical Center (TMC) to have a valve replacement done using a minimally invasive procedure known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). It can be recommended for patients who need aortic valve repair, but are not strong enough to undergo open-heart surgery.
Minimally invasive TAVR
Gentry had a TAVR instead of open-heart surgery. During this procedure, which is very similar to a heart catheterization, a surgeon replaces the damaged valve with a new valve. It is about the size of a quarter and inserted using a catheter, where it is implanted into the heart to take over the function of the damaged aortic valve, restoring blood flow. Patients often only require a two-day hospital stay with this procedure.
“This is the direction that cardiac care is moving – doing bigger things less invasively, and with a quicker recovery,” says Dr. Turner. “Right now, we are the only facility doing TAVR between Dallas and Oklahoma City, and we are excited to be able to provide this minimally invasive option to patients who meet the criteria for it. There are many patients who drive well over an hour to get here because their families live here, they have a good support network, and they know they will receive quality care here. Having family close by has also been proven to contribute to a better recovery.”
A noticeable difference
Gentry, who was only in the hospital for two days, says she noticed a big difference after the procedure. “I felt much better and I was no longer short of breath, tired or exhausted,” she says. “The one thing that stands out are the doctors and nurses - they all took great care of me. I just love this hospital and I recommend it to everyone! It’s a nice place to be if you are sick.”
It didn’t take Gentry long to get back to her normal routines. She likes to cook, collect recipes, travel, and she walks at least a half-mile every day. “My daughter and I are putting a stationary bike in her shop, so I can ride the bike with her. I am so grateful to be active again, and want to thank TMC for everything they have done for me. I hope my success story can help someone else who has this condition. They were great!”
Aortic stenosis – symptoms and treatment
Aortic stenosis is commonly an age-related condition, when the aortic valve starts to show wear and tear and narrows from calcium buildup. The narrowing reduces blood flow through the heart, resulting in symptoms such as:
Shortness of breath
Lack of energy
The traditional way of correcting this is by open-heart surgery, but it’s a much bigger risk for older patients and for patients with several complicated health issues. Now that TAVR is an option at TMC, patients may be able to qualify for the minimally invasive procedure, especially those who are not candidates for open-heart surgery.
For more information about TAVR or to make an appointment, please contact Valve Coordinator Michaela Prater, RN, at 903-416-4233.