TAVR being called a game changer for cardiac surgery

A revolutionary heart procedure is now being performed in the Valley. It's offering hope to patients who were once told, they were inoperable.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
A revolutionary heart procedure is now being performed in the Valley. It's offering hope to patients who were once told, they were inoperable.

Alice Glenn of Reedley still likes to do things her way, at the age of 89. "I'm very independent anyway, and I still am."

But she knew she needed help after her health rapidly declined. Then she passed out one day, last spring. "I was getting tired, more especially at night. Sometime I had a hard time breathing."

Doctors discovered Alice's aortic valve needed to be replaced but traditional open heart surgery would be too risky. Her only options were medication and repeated trips to the hospital.

That was before the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). "Now, we can offer this procedure to people we were thinking were inoperable candidates for the procedure to go through open heart surgery," said Dr. Rohit Sundrani, Interventional Cardiologist.

Dr. Sundrani and a team of surgeons at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Northeast Fresno, say TAVR is changing cardiac valve surgery. The much less invasive procedure uses a balloon catheter, inserted through the groin. Once in position, it inflates, placing the artificial valve and restoring blood flow.

There is no comparison between the recovery time of open heart surgery and the TAVR procedure. What used to take weeks now just takes a few days and patients get sent home to a better quality of life.

Alice was the first TAVR patient in the Valley and went home just three days after surgery. "I feel good, I don't have to see the heart doctor for a whole year!"

Dr. Sundrani says now, Valley patients do not have to travel far to get the cutting edge procedure without much cutting. "These patients were traveling to L.A. or San Francisco to get their care, families have to go with them, have to stay with them. Now we can deliver this care, here."
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