New Heart Procedure in Tallahassee

By Hannah Carroll, News 20 at Five

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital is in the beginning stages of offering a new heart surgery for inoperable and high-risk patients of aortic stenosis.

Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve becomes too narrow to allow proper blood flow for the heart. This new procedure corrects the narrowing by putting in a new valve and expanding the old one.

It is called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. Doctors place a new aortic valve in a patient’s heart without ever opening their chest. It is a monumental addition for Tallahassee Memorial, but even more for Tallahassee and the surrounding areas.

Less than a month ago, 92-year-old Joe Mills had the procedure done. He said he could already tell a huge difference from how he felt before.

“I’m up and about and doing things. I went out and blew the leaves off the back patio yesterday.”

Penny Burroughs, the valve clinic coordinator said having this available at TMH is really going to help a lot of people.

“Now that we are able to do this at TMH, you get to stay home. Your family’s here with you and you’re here with physicians you already know.”

Mills said that it is unlikely he would have been able to have the procedure done if it wasn’t being offered in Tallahassee.

Dr. Wayne Batchelor performed the operation on Joe Mills. He said multiple surgeons turned down Mills for standard open chest aortic valve replacement surgery. This is why he was such a good candidate for TAVR. He said Mills has come a long way since the operation.

“He was really compromised tremendously by his valve narrowing. So in his case he had a dramatic improvement in symptoms. He was able to get back to the things that brought him pleasure.”

Mills continues to improve daily while doing physical therapy to stay active. He said he plans on making it to 100-years-old.

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Posted on October 17, 2012, in News. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.

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