When doctors at Saint Francis Medical Center recommended a surgical procedure to repair Lottie Meese’s heart valve, her daughter Kim Buehler was a little apprehensive.
She wondered whether her 92-year-old mother would be able to withstand any type of procedure.
But the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) turned out to be exactly what Meese needed. She was out of the hospital just two days after the procedure and visiting her granddaughter in Texas two weeks later.
Meese, who lives in Advance, Mo. with Buehler, has always been healthy and active for her age. But a few years ago, she began experiencing fatigue and shortness of breath. Two strokes in 2013 and 2014 further complicated the problem.
“She would walk from her chair to my kitchen and be out of breath,” says Buehler.
Doctors at Saint Francis diagnosed Meese with aortic valve stenosis, a condition in which the heart’s aortic valve narrows, obstructing blood flow from the heart and leading to shortness of breath, chest pain or syncope. Traditionally, doctors treat this problem with open-heart surgery, but that can be risky for older patients.
TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure in which the doctor replaces the valve through very small incisions that leave the chest bone in place.
“We do not have to stop the heart or go on bypass which is safer for patients as we would in open-heart surgery,” says Steven J. Joggerst, MD, interventional cardiologist at Saint Francis Medical Center.
Meese had her TAVR on Dec. 9, 2014, and was amazed at how much the procedure helped her. “I felt better and stronger right away,” she says. “I could tell a big difference, and so could all my family members.”
“The evening after the procedure, her color was better, and a few days after the surgery, she was like her old self,” says Buehler. “It was amazing.”
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