TAVR Gives Heart Patients Less Invasive Choice for Treatment

Doctors at CHI St. Vincent are using new technology to help replace aortic valves.

The procedure eliminated the need for open heart surgery, and patients can leave the hospital the next day.

Bob Harper followed up with doctors after undergoing a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, also known as TAVR.

It is a new procedure people can choose instead of open heart surgery.

Both provide the same results.

"I couldn't really tell I had an operation," Harper said."It's like I just went to sleep awhile, woke up, and the next day I went home."

Doctors insert a catheter through the groin and up to the heart to replace the aortic valve.

Bob had a bad leakage in his heart valve that got worse over the years.

"If I was walking up a hill, I would have to stop maybe 3, 4 or 5 times," he said.

Aortic Valve Disease impacted Bob's quality of life, limiting him from a lot of activities, including two-stepping at the VFW in Fairfield Bay.

The 74-year-old enjoys dancing and karaoke weekly.

"I can feel a lot of difference on the dance floor. I can dance all night now."

Bob has had five bypasses over the years.

Dr. Aravind Rao says surgeons felt they could not safely operate on him because of the previous bypasses.

"If not for this technology, I don't think he would've survived for a very long time," Dr. Rao said.

It is only available for those considered high risk for open heart surgery.

"This procedure is much safer," Dr. Rao said. "There's clear data that shows people live longer."

There are small risks associated with it such as anesthesia and kidney issues, but these are small risks Bob was willing to take to get better.

"It just changed it 100 percent," Harper said. "I can do anything, just about whatever I want."