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Heart surgery procedure now available to more patients

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, also known as TAVR, is used to treat people with severe aortic stenosis and is an alternative to open heart surgery.

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 7:33 PM
Updated: Dec 15, 2017 10:54 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Doctors at PeaceHealth are using a cutting edge procedure to treat patients with a heart condition.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, also known as TAVR, is used to treat people with severe aortic stenosis and is an alternative to open heart surgery. PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend is only one of five hospitals in Oregon to offer TAVR. The procedure used to only be available to the very sick and elderly, but now more heart patients can benefit.

KEZI was there as Herb Ball, 89, went in for surgery on Thursday.

With TAVR, instead of cutting the chest open, doctors go through the skin and feed a new valve to the diseased part of the heart. Doctors said it makes for fewer risks and a quicker recovery.

"They don't have to go on the heart and lung machine," said Dr. Dennis Gory. "They don't have to worry about their heart permanently stopped."

Doctors said the actual procedure only takes five to 10 seconds. All the other time is for preparation.

Gerry Moshofsky, a former patient, said before the surgery he could barely walk without losing his breath. Now, he said his life has changed for the better.

“I can walk a mile easily,” Moshofsky said. “The family is very happy because they realized that it changed my life."

With this procedure, the patient's recovery time is a lot shorter. Instead of weeks with open heart surgery, doctors said it takes just a couple days.

Doctors at PeaceHealth have been performing the surgery for five years, and have helped more than 400 people. Although this technology is revolutionary, doctors said open heart surgery is still the better option for most people, especially young people who may need more operations in the future.

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