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Back on the Farm After TAVR

For Joe Fields, life doesn’t get much better than when you’re enjoying the great outdoors – like working on his Midlands cattle farm or fishing on Lake Murray.
But a problem with his heart made that nearly impossible.

“With my symptoms, I could hardly do anything except sit down.”

The 72-year-old outdoorsman from Saluda had aortic stenosis. That’s a narrowing of the aortic valve, which is the valve that allows oxygenated blood out of the heart to the rest of the body. Patients with aortic stenosis have a valve that doesn’t open properly.

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Joe’s aortic stenosis was so severe that it left him with shortness of breath and chest pain. Simply climbing onto his tractor made him breathless. Betty, his wife of 53 years, says he even had trouble walking to the mailbox.

And it was worse at night.

“Lying in bed, I’d have to concentrate on breathing hard to get enough air through to keep me going,” he said.

Aortic stenosis can be a serious problem. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller opening in the valve, the heart eventually becomes weak. Over time, that can lead to life-threatening heart problems. In fact, the life expectancy for people with severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis is less than two years.

IMG_9991At Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, Joe learned about transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. This state-of-the-art cardiovascular technology allows doctors to replace the aortic valve with a catheter instead of performing open heart surgery. Lexington Medical Center began performing TAVR last spring.

Currently, TAVR is only for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are high-risk candidates for open heart surgery because of their age, history of heart disease or other health issues.

Joe, who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery twenty years ago and had stents placed in blocked arteries awhile back, met with a multi-disciplinary team of physicians at Lexington Medical Center who perform TAVR, including cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons at Lexington Cardiology and Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery. He underwent TAVR at the hospital in October 2014.

Joe spent three days at Lexington Medical Center for the procedure. Immediately after TAVR was complete, he noticed that he could breathe better.

“The next morning when they came in to check my breathing, they said, ‘Man, you’re moving some air today!”

Betty, who says she’s incredibly thankful that Lexington Medical Center now offers a comprehensive cardiovascular program, has noticed a difference in Joe, too. Before TAVR, she said her husband had trouble working on the farm at all. In fact, he had to hand off much of the work with the cattle to his son. Now, Joe is in the pasture from early morning until late afternoon with no chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue.

“It’s a whole different life for me,” Joe said. “I can get out and do things again. TAVR is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

LMC Irmo Shines in Patient Experience Awards

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Lexington Medical Center Irmo’s Ambulatory Surgery department has won the prestigious Guardian of Excellence and Beacon of Excellence Awards for patient experience from Press Ganey, an organization that tracks and ranks patient experience in many areas of health care across the country.

The Guardian of Excellence Award is for health care organizations that reach the 95th percentile in patient satisfaction for each reporting period of the year. The Beacon of Excellence Award goes to the top three organizations in the nation for consistently high levels of excellence in patient experience over three years.

amberg_131105_164“The employees at Lexington Medical Center Irmo are always striving to provide the most extraordinary care to our patients,” said Susan Horton, director of Guest Services. “They are honored each year for their accomplishments.”

Press Ganey partners with more than 10,000 health care facilities across the nation to measure and improve patient experience.

LMC Irmo has been serving the people of the Irmo community for 28 years. Approximately 150 surgeries per month are performed there.

Operation Santa Claus

Santa & Mrs. Clause

Dennis and Marie Green have played Santa and Mrs. Claus for 21 years. The couple from Greenwood, South Carolina began the holiday tradition at Dennis’s annual Christmas party. His jolly beard and her twinkling smile reminded friends and co-workers of the holiday’s most celebrated duo.

The Greens began visiting churches and family-friendly establishments each holiday season to listen to Christmas wishes from children throughout the community.

In October, Green had bypass surgery at Lexington Medical Center after experiencing severe angina, a type of chest pain that is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.

Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery and Lexington Medical Center’s cardiology team made sure Santa was healthy in time for Christmas.

“I was very impressed with the level of care I received from Dr. Travis, Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery and the nurses at Lexington Medical Center,” said Dennis Green, a.k.a. Santa Claus.

He was back to taking Christmas lists from children after just two weeks.

“I didn’t have to shave my beard for surgery, which is very important this time of year,” added Green.

Cardiac surgery is a powerful treatment that restores heart function and saves lives. It’s one of the most critical components of the complete heart and vascular program at Lexington Medical Center.

Merry Christmas.