Tag Archives: transcatheter aortic valve replacement

Striking Back Against Heart Disease

On Friday nights, you can bet on finding Martha Gregg at the Gamecock Lanes bowling alley in Sumter.

She bowls there every week with her son and daughter and participates in bowling tournaments. Her personal best is a 195.

She’s back in the game after a serious setback in 2014.

During that time, the 68-year-old noticed she was getting very tired.

Martha Gregg bowling in Sumter

“I would get so tired when walking. I couldn’t stand up in church, either. I couldn’t bake. I couldn’t lift my clothes. I was so tired and out of breath.”

It was so bad that she fell asleep at work one night.

The fatigue affected her bowling, too.

“I was too tired to bowl,” she said. “I’d bowl one game and couldn’t finish it. My son would say, ‘Mom, just sit down.’”

Tests at Lexington Medical Center revealed something was wrong with Martha’s aortic valve, the heart valve that allows oxygenated blood back into the body.

Doctors referred her to Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia for further testing.

“They said the valve was not pumping enough blood through my body to keep me going full force. The valve was slowing me down,” she said. “They said it needed to be replaced. That scared me.”

But that June, instead of traditional, open heart surgery, Martha underwent transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR, at Lexington Medical Center. This state-of-the-art cardiovascular technology allows doctors to replace the aortic valve without open heart surgery.

TAVR is considered the most significant advancement in cardiology since coronary angioplasty.

Currently, TAVR is 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.

In TAVR, a catheter helps to deploy a new aortic valve over the patient’s diseased aortic valve without open heart surgery.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis have a narrowed aortic valve that does not allow blood to flow efficiently. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller opening in the valve, the heart eventually becomes weak. Over time, it can lead to life-threatening heart problems.

To replace the diseased aortic valve with TAVR, the new aortic valve is compressed into a catheter. Doctors thread the catheter through the body to the inside of the diseased aortic valve. Then, they deploy the new valve inside the diseased aortic valve, which becomes the anchor for the new valve. The new valve is functional immediately and normal blood flow is restored.

With this minimally invasive technique, doctors deployed the new aortic valve through just a small puncture in the femoral artery in the leg.

“After a few days in the hospital, I noticed that I could walk more,” Martha said. “I thought, ‘I don’t feel tired.’ I couldn’t do that before without stopping and resting.”

Two months later, she was back at the bowling alley impressing the competition at tournaments again.

And she’s thankful to the Lexington Medical Center team that fixed her up.

“I feel like I can run a marathon now. It’s really good. I can kick my heels up, too.”

New Aortic Valve Procedure Answers Prayer

Thomas Caldwell has a heart for prayer. As pastor of Beacon Baptist Church in Lexington, he leads his congregation with faith. This fall, when doctors at Lexington Medial Center told him there was something wrong with his aortic valve and that it needed to be replaced, he began to pray.

The pastor shared his story with Dawndy Mercer Plank in this WIS-TV news story. Watch it below.

 

At age 81, Thomas decided he didn’t want to have open heart surgery. That was a big decision because not having his aortic valve fixed could shorten his life. But he soon learned he was a candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. The procedure used to be considered experimental and only for patients who were unable to have open heart surgery because of advanced age or other health problems. But right after Thomas’ appointment and his conversation with God, the procedure was approved for nearly all aortic valve patients. In fact, Thomas became the first patient to have TAVR at Lexington Medical Center under the newly expanded guidelines.

The Most Experienced TAVR Facility in the Midlands

Reaching a significant milestone in comprehensive cardiovascular care for the people of our community, Lexington Medical Center has become the most experienced hospital in the Midlands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. The procedure allows doctors to replace the heart’s aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery.

Lexington Medical Center is celebrating the one-year anniversary of beginning its TAVR program. So far, the hospital has performed more than 60 TAVR procedures, more than any other hospital in the Midlands. TAVR is considered the greatest advance in cardiology since coronary angioplasty.

Currently, TAVR is 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.

Lexington Medical Center's TAVR Team. L to R: Jeffrey Travis, MD; Robert Malanuk, MD, FACC; Kristen Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN; Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC; Dee Prastein, MD

Lexington Medical Center’s TAVR Team. L to R: Jeffrey Travis, MD; Robert Malanuk, MD, FACC; Kristen Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN; Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC; Dee Prastein, MD

“We feel so lucky to be able to help these people, many of whom are debilitated by heart failure and did not have any good options in the past,” said Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology at Lexington Medical Center, who works with a team of clinicians on the hospital’s TAVR team.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis have a narrowed aortic valve that does not allow blood to flow efficiently. 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.


To replace the diseased aortic valve with TAVR, the new aortic valve is compressed into a catheter. Doctors thread the catheter through the body to the inside of the diseased aortic valve.

Then, they deploy the new valve inside the diseased aortic valve, which becomes the anchor for the new valve. The new valve is functional immediately and normal blood flow is restored.

Lexington Medical Center performed the first fully percutaneous TAVR procedure in South Carolina. With this minimally invasive technique, doctors deployed the new aortic valve through just a small puncture in the femoral artery in the leg. The hospital also performed the first TAVR procedure in South Carolina where the patient was awake, and it remains the only South Carolina hospital routinely doing the procedures fully percutaneously, without putting patients to sleep, and without the need for a transesophageal echocardiogram. This “minimalist” approach has been shown to make recovery from valve replacement easier.

Lexington Medical Center hosted a reception on the hospital campus in May with patients who underwent TAVR, clinicians and hospital employees.


To learn more about cardiovascular care at Lexington Medical Center, visit LexMed.com/heart