JFK Medical Center Heart & Vascular Center – The TAVR Procedure

– [Narrator] For Gordon Belshaw,
a day on the golf course is just a normal part of life. – I started caddying at nine years old. You can tell how long ago that was because we got paid 35 cents
for 9 holes, caddying. We grew up in a small town. That was the first thing you could do. – [Narrator] But recently
an abnormal problem began to surface, excessive
internal bleeding. His days on the greens
were quickly replaced with days in the hospital,
receiving numerous blood transfusions, then a diagnosis. – I was told on a Monday
that I had a serious valve problem that required surgery. And I was surprised and shocked. – [Narrator] It was a
malfunction in his aortic valve. For some patients, this could be repaired through open heart surgery, but not everyone is a candidate. Now a new minimally invasive procedure is giving new hope to patients
who were too high risk or were previously considered inoperable. – TAVR stands for T-A-V-R
which is Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement. TAVR is essentially a new technology. It’s a new way of
replacing the aortic valve when it’s diseased, when it’s stenotic. – This procedure is designed
specifically for patients who have calcific aortic stenosis. And that is the valve
between the pumping chamber of the heart and the rest of the body does not open normally. These are patients who
are elderly patients and they have very
calcified aortic valves. – [Narrator] JFK is part of
the select group of hospitals in the United States approved to offer this promising new procedure. They were the first heart
program in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast to
perform the TAVR procedure. – Instead of placing
the valve in a strut or reasonably solid configuration, the valves are actually little
parachutes and they have three little areas where they
attach and they hang down from these three attachment
points as parachutes. If you imagine they took a cyclone fence or chicken wire and they mounted the valve just the way they would normally mount it on these three struts and
they sew it to the side of this collapsible cage. And then we actually take
and put that cage in a device and gradually shrink it down so it goes from being the size of about an inch to a size of maybe your
middle finger, little finger just a a much smaller size. And that allows us to put
it either through the apex of the heart, actually make an incision, small incision through the
heart or through the leg or even through the skin. And we inflate the valve
and stretch it open, and stretch open the
calcium, so now the valve can function in the open position and the valve that’s
inside this little strut serves as a one-way valve
much like the aortic valve is supposed to serve. – [Narrator] The cardiac
staff uses a team approach when it comes to performing
this life-saving procedure. – If you’re a patient
and you’re referred to us for evaluation for possible
TAVR, there’s a very detailed and extensive
process that goes on before you get the valve. You meet with us at a valve
clinic and when you meet with us you meet all members of
the cardio-thoracic team. Two Cardio-Thoracic surgeons,
myself, and another associate of mine who’s an
Interventional Cardiologist. Four doctors will meet with
you and assess your situation. We look at all your information, previous heart catheterizations, echocardiograms that you’ve had. And we may, in most cases we
have to order additional tests on you that include CAT scans
and breathing, lung tests, pulmonary function tests. – It’s a collaboration of
multiple physician specialties and the hospital specialties. We have two cardiac
surgeons, we have at least two interventional
cardiologists, there’s an anesthesiologist who may work
also as an echo-cardiographer. I will have an assistant
with me who’s a certified nurse-anesthetist, we have the
open heart scrub team there, the profusion team is there, the cardiac cath lab team is there. All in all there’s 30
to 40 people involved in this procedure. – Most patients are in the
hospital for about four to six days, it’s a little bit less
than conventional surgery. And that’s because we’re
early on in the process we’re very careful to
ensure a good result, to ensure after they
leave the hospital they go to a rehabilitation
facility or they go home with home nursing in some cases. And these patients are
watched very closely from beginning to end. There’s definitely less pain involved, these are smaller incisions,
this doesn’t involve opening the entire sternum. It’s either a smaller
thoracotomy or it’s all done via the groin approach. So patients tolerate the
procedure much better from a pain perspective. – Only selected places within
the United States of America that really had experience, both surgeons and interventional
cardiologists, in performing very high complexity procedures. Based on that there were
very tight requirements to qualify for that and
we are one of the centers from south Florida that was selected. Only 120 initially in the United States. – [Narrator] This team
approach in the operating room is similar to Gordon’s
days on the golf course. The caddy doesn’t just carry the clubs, he plays an intricate part
of the team on the green. – The surgeons and everybody
involved was great. Couple of them were
outstanding, personable people. Dr. Norris is amazingly
capable and personable himself. But they were all involved. And the PA surgeon was involved,
they were all in there. – They even called and gave
us updates during surgery as he had several studies
or additional tests done before he actually went under the knife. So it was extremely helpful
to have updates from OR to let us know when the
TAVR was put in place, that it went well, and
very shortly after that then out came the
surgical team all smiles, so it couldn’t have been better. – The next thing I’m gonna do is get back to my golf game to repair it a little bit. I haven’t played since October because of the blood problems. But to anyone my age
that’s had heart surgery I would recommend this in a minute. – [Narrator] For more information
on the TAVR procedure, contact the JFK Valve Institute at 561-54-VALVE or ask
your doctor for a referral.

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