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Doc Talk | Doctors use new procedure for aortic stenosis

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For years there was virtually no way to treat elderly people suffering with severe aortic stenosis.

Their hearts weren’t working but because of their age, they were high-risk and had few options.

But all that’s changed thanks to a less invasive procedure.

Doctors say to beat aortic stenosis, you’ll need a valve replacement.

That used to be done through open heart surgery.

But now a what’s called the tavr procedure with a cow or pig valve is the most common way to go and the safest for people of all ages.

Karen Daughtry needed her first valve replacement nine years ago.

“Open heart was a difficult experience, and then this summer i woke up and suddenly i couldn’t breathe,” she says.

Its been nine years and already she needed another replacement.

“The valve had torn. It wasn’t the doctor or the surgery. It was the valve itself,”

Karen suffers from aortic stenosis and more than half a million people across the u-s are diagnosed with it every year.

“The valve gets thickened. It get all necrotic, and the valve instead of opening just stay just like that, says dr. Rajesh Dave Geisinger Holy Spirit Cardiologist

Years ago Dr. Dave says most doctors replaced the vale with a mechanical valve but it wasn’t a great option.

“When we put mech valve in some patients, they get stuck on anticoagulation throughout their life because they have to keep their blood thin. Otherwise the valve will fall off,” he says.

But now most doctors use valves like this made from cows or pigs.

It’s what Karen Daughtry opted for when she needed her second replacement.

“That’s a very particular group of patients where this is an excellent option because you don’t want to open up somebody’s chest a second time because it’s all scarred,” he says.

Aside from the makings of the valve this procedure, known as the tavr procedure, goes through the groin area instead of open heart surgery.

“This, there’s a little cut down in my groin and hopefully no one sees that,” he says.

After this procedure, Karen says she was up and walking the next day.

She says it’s changed her whole life.

“Within a 6 week period and dr. Dave did such a great job that for the first time in years I’m back to work,” she says.

Doctors say these pig and cow valves can give patients another seven to ten years.

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