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    Hazel - Cruising Along Thanks to New Procedure

    Hazel -
    Hazel - Cruising Along Thanks to New Procedure

    Aortic stenosis is a heart condition that Hazel was very familiar with, having watched her brother die of complications due to the open heart surgery performed to correct it. Not wanting to suffer the same fate as her brother, Hazel knew right away that she didn’t want the same surgery to correct her aortic stenosis when her cardiologist, David Wampold, M.D., diagnosed her with the condition three years ago. 

    “When my brother had open heart surgery, it was the only option available to him at the time,” Hazel said. “He was just finishing a battle with cancer and it turned out his body was too weak to handle the procedure.”

    Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve. When this valve starts to narrow, the heart begins to compensate and starts to pump harder to increase the blood flow. This puts strain on the heart muscle, causing it to thicken and become less efficient. This thickening gets worse over time and the only way to correct it is by having surgery. 

    For many, open heart surgery is the way to go, but for others the risks of surgery are too great. These patients are considered inoperable because their health is too delicate to endure such an invasive procedure. However, without the life-saving surgery, their life expectancy with the disease is a little more than three years.

    But as Hazel learned a few months ago, modern medicine has found a way to let her beat the odds.

    “My son saw a television news program featuring a 91-year-old man who had his aortic stenosis corrected with a new minimally invasive procedure,” Hazel said. “So I asked my doctor about it to see if it could be an option.”

    Dr. Wampold referred Hazel to the valve clinic at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento for further evaluation and consideration for the new minimally invasive Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement procedure, also known as TAVR. In this procedure, a catheter placed through the femoral artery in the groin is used to implant the new aortic heart valve, so there is no need to open the chest, shortening the recovery period and placing less stress on the patient’s overall health.

    Once evaluated, Hazel was considered to be an excellent candidate for the new procedure and a consultation was scheduled with interventional cardiologist David Roberts, M.D.

    “I took my children with me to speak with Dr. Roberts about the procedure,” Hazel said. “I wasn’t going to do it if we all didn’t feel comfortable. But after meeting Dr. Roberts, we all agreed that he was the best. He was wonderful, and as a family we all decided that the TAVR procedure was my best option.”

    A few weeks later, Hazel was scheduled for the surgery, which was performed in the cath lab at Sutter Memorial Hospital. Hazel’s surgery was a great success, and after only four days in the hospital she was sent home to finish her recovery.

    Now a month later, Hazel is feeling great. It doesn’t take her as long to do things and she is moving around much faster than she used to. Dr. Roberts even gave her the clearance to do anything she wants.

    “Dr. Roberts said it was OK to do everything, so I made him say it again in front of my kids,” Hazel said with a smile. “And the next day we all booked a 14-day cruise to Alaska.”
    Hazel got a second chance to continue her life. She has more time with her family and more time enjoying the world around her. 

    “I am thankful that they have this type of surgery now,” Hazel said. “No horrible scar and the recovery time is quicker. Everyone at the hospital was wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for a better option.”


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