Oak Lawn, Ill. – “There was an immediate change in my life after getting a new heart valve. Now, I just want to know how soon I can go and try to play golf again.”
For 89-year-old William Prindiville of Chicago, a new, minimally invasive procedure to replace the failing aortic heart valve of patients deemed too high a risk for open heart surgery has proven a godsend.
“I feel 10 or 15 years younger,” Prindiville said, noting that his recovery from the procedure was more rapid than expected. “I was ready to go home [from the hospital] after a couple of days.”
“In fact, about 10 hours after the procedure, Mr. Prindiville was asking when he might play golf again,” said Ravi Ramana DO, a cardiologist in the Advocate Christ Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute and a member of the team that performed the valve-replacement procedure, known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR. Prindiville is one of the first patients to undergo TAVR at Christ Medical Center.
Calcium deposits can accumulate on the aortic valve – the main valve in the heart, causing the valve to become thick and unable to open properly. A malfunctioning aortic valve reduces blood flow from the heart and forces the left ventricle of the heart to increase pressure to pump blood through the valve. Symptoms of this condition, known as aortic stenosis or narrowing, include chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness during activity and heart palpitations. “Patients with aortic stenosis do not do well long term,” said cardiac surgeon, Antone Tatooles MD, who is also a member of the Christ Medical Center TAVR team.
Until recently, patients who were too high risk for open heart surgery had few options for treating their valve problems. “However, we now have new ways of delivering replacement valves to the heart, and one of the newest is TAVR,” Dr. Tatooles said.
Much like other interventional (non-surgical) heart procedures, TAVR is performed by making a small incision in the patient’s groin and inserting a catheter into the femoral artery. The catheter, which is threaded into the heart, is used to inflate a balloon that pushes open and crushes the old heart valve. Through this catheter, physicians then deliver a stent, which is like a small chicken wire, into the area where the old heart valve had been. Once the stent is in place, it is forced open, and, within that stent, a new heart valve is inserted, Dr. Tatooles explained.
“Thanks to TAVR, we are able to improve the length of life and quality of life for patients who cannot undergo surgery,” said Dr. Ramana.
Christ Medical Center cardiologist, Surendra Avula MD, also part of the TAVR team, agreed. “TAVR is proving very successful, and patients are spending an average of only three or four days in the hospital following the procedure,” he said. “Technology is truly changing the future for many heart patients.”
For Prindiville, a former fighter pilot in World War II, it means a return to the golf course, even though it does not assure him a lower golf handicap. “Unfortunately, golf handicaps only go up with age – never down,” he said.
More information about the Heart and Vascular Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center is available by calling 1.800.3ADVOCATE (1.800.323.8622) or visiting http://www.advocatehealth.com/cmc/heart. A video about the TAVR procedure can be found at http://bit.ly/Uknn13.
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About Advocate Christ Medical Center
Advocate Christ Medical Center is part of Advocate Health Care, which is one of the nation’s leading health care networks. A not-for-profit, 694-bed, premier teaching institution with more than 1,000 affiliated physicians, Christ Medical Center is a leader in health care and one of the major referral hospitals in the Midwest in a number of specialties, including cardiovascular services, heart and kidney transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, orthopedics and women’s health. The hospital also has one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in Illinois providing emergency care for more than 90,000 patient visits annually and is a leader in breakthrough technologies, including eICU® (electronic intensive care unit) monitoring, robotic da Vinci Surgery System® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery. In 2012, the medical center was named to the Thomson Reuters® list of 100 Top Hospitals, while U.S. News & World Report ranked the medical center among the nation’s leading providers for cardiology and heart surgery and for geriatric medicine and ranked it fourth overall among hospitals in the state of Illinois. The hospital is also recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Center. Magnet status represents the highest honor in the nursing profession. To obtain more information or to visit our newsroom, log on to: www.advocatehealth.com/christ.