HelloHealthy | Winter 2018–19 5 Warning signs of a heart valve problem Because it’s less invasive than open-heart surgery, TAVR offers people who can’t have a major operation— because of their age or other health problems—a chance at a longer life. “Our oldest patient so far was 97,” says April Randall, RN, Valve Clinic coordinator and the cardiac patient navigator for St. Joseph’s Heart & Vascular Institute. “She is going to celebrate her 100th birthday this year.” Patients also recover earlier with TAVR. Wilma went home just two days after her procedure. She felt so good that she tried to return to her volunteer duties the very next Monday—though she did agree to go home and rest until her doctor officially released her later that week. “That’s where I belonged on Mondays,” Wilma explains. Expertise + humankindness The TAVR team at St. Joseph’s is led by interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, physicians with highly specialized skills and a commitment to their patients. Since the program began, they have undergone additional training so that they can perform more than one type of TAVR—allowing people with more complicated aortic valve replacements to receive treatment close to home. The care is also individualized. The team takes the time to learn what matters to each TAVR candidate, many of whom return for a yearly TAVR reunion. “It’s rewarding to see them go to family weddings and to be able to continue to do all the things they thought they were going to miss out on,” Randall says. And that includes Wilma. Thanks to her treatment, Wilma was able to continue her loving work at the hospital. After her TAVR procedure, Wilma says, she feels “good and alive again.” “It’s a lot better than open-heart surgery,” she says. “You don’t have a long recovery time. That is what’s neat about TAVR.” Heart valve disease signs and symptoms may include: Chest pain. Dizziness. Unusual tiredness. If you’ve been told that you have a heart valve problem, call our heart patient navigator at 209.547.5700 to ask if a referral to the valve clinic might be right for you. Shortness of breath. Irregular heartbeat. Expert help The expert team at St. Joseph’s Heart & Vascular Institute provides state-of-the-art care delivered with a personal touch. Read about our many services at StJosephsCares.org/Heart .