Too weak for heart surgery? Texas hospital offers new procedure

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by Jenny Suniga / KENS 5

khou.com

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 7:58 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 25 at 7:58 AM

SAN ANTONIO -- Aortic stenosis is a thickening or narrowing of the aortic valve, which blocks blood flow to the heart. Traditionally, the valve is repaired through open heart surgery.

But not all patients are healthy enough for open heart surgery. Doctors in San Antonio have another option.

The TAVR procedure is considered a non-evasive surgery.  Doctors say the procedure takes about two hours and recovery is cut in half compared to open heart surgery.
 
KENS 5 cameras were allowed in the operating room as 87-year-old Jean Townsend underwent the TAVR procedure.
 
"I've had this shortness of breath and it's gradually gotten worse. I'm unable to do housework," said Townsend, who suffers from aortic stenosis.

Townsend's doctor referred her to the UT Medicine heart team after it was determined that she was too weak for open heart surgery.

"She did very well," said Dr. Steven Bailey, a cardiologist. "When she goes home she will be able to resume normal activity and the breathing problems will get better."
 
Townsend will spend three days in the hospital recovering and then she will be sent home.
 
“I have a walking track out back and I want to get out there first thing." Townsend said.

Visit the University Health System website for more information on the TAVR procedure.

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