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TAVR provides options to patients who previously had few if any

TAVR patient Jene Hanes

Sam Hanes uses two words over and over again when talking about the lifesaving heart care his mother received last fall at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis: “amazing” and “awesome.”

“They saved my mother’s life and they enhanced the quality of her life,” says Sam, all but speechless by the change in his 79-year-old mother following the transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure, or TAVR, she had performed in Via Christi’s hybrid operating room last October. “She’s really bounced back.”

His mother, Lennis “Jene” Hanes, had been transferred by her local hospital to Via Christi last August with heart rhythm issues and severe narrowing of her aortic valve.
“She was near death,” says Bassem Chehab, MD, medical director of Via Christi’s structural heart program.

After lengthy discussions with the family about Jene’s limited options, Chehab performed balloon aortic valvuloplasty, a procedure in which a balloon is inserted in the aortic valve, inflated and then deflated to improve blood flow. This served as a temporary fix, giving her time to recover so that the Heart Valve Clinic team at Via Christi could evaluate whether she would be a good candidate for the new, minimally invasive TAVR procedure.

The team determined that she was, and Jene and her family decided to go forward with the only treatment option available to them. 

On Oct. 17, 2013, Jene became the first of approximately a dozen Kansas patients to undergo a TAVR procedure in St. Francis’ new hybrid operating room, which combines the technology of a catheterization lab with high-quality X-ray and other imaging equipment, all within into the sterile environment of an OR. Her physician team included Chehab, cardiothoracic surgeons Brett Grizzell and Sanjay Khicha, cardiologist Richard Steckley and anesthesiologist David Havey.

Within six hours, Jene was up in a chair and by the following morning was walking in the halls. She returned to her Garden City home five days after her surgery and since that time, says Sam, "it's been amazing what my mother has been able to do."

"It really changed my life," says Jene, who before her 30-day check-up already had taken a trip to see family in Amarillo, Texas.

By the time her 90-day check-up rolled around, Jene no longer needed a cane or walker, was caring for herself and the home she shares with Sam, and looking forward to spending more time with her five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Says Sam: “God bless, we came here to St. Francis, where everything just fell into place. It’s been awesome."

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