Mercy Hospital Springfield hosted a one-year anniversary reunion luncheon for patients who have undergone transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This procedure enabled patients not eligible for open heart surgery to have a valve replacement, preventing the need for bypass and allowing a faster recovery.
Harold Block, an Ozarks cattle farmer, was one of the first patients to get the procedure. "The recovery rate was immediate. It was the next day I went home and the day after that I was out riding my tractor."
During the luncheon, patients caught up with their care team and learned about the latest advances in the procedure. The new method, which uses a transapical approach, is quicker and less technically difficult than the transfemoral technique. When using the transfemoral approach, doctors insert a stent in the heart by using a blood vessel in the leg. In transapical, doctors make the incision in the chest between the ribs, and access the lowest part of the heart. The transapical approach gives high-risk patients with aortic stenosis who have small vessels or severe peripheral vascular disease an exciting new option, making it available to even more patients.