(StatePoint) When walking up the stairs and playing golf started to become difficult even on a good day, retired Navy Captain Allen Brady attributed the change to aging. Having spent six years as a prisoner of war, Brady was no stranger to living with a challenge. But, when he couldn’t finish a round of golf without feeling fatigued and short of breath, he and his wife knew something was wrong and decided to visit a cardiologist. Brady was diagnosed with a severe form of aortic stenosis, the most common valvular heart disease affecting an estimated 1.5 million Americans.
Brady is among the 7 percent of people over the age of 65 affected by this condition. Aortic stenosis is characterized by significant narrowing of the aortic valve opening, which restricts blood flow and is often accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, pressure or tightness, fatigue, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, and difficulty when exercising or completing day-to-day activities. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to heart failure, severe infection and even sudden death.
While historically, the only treatment option available to patients involved valve replacement via open-heart surgery, a less invasive procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has become a more mainstream solution for those who are too sick to undergo traditional surgery. Patients who have a TAVR procedure typically experience a faster recovery time and less discomfort.
“At 89 years old, I was very concerned about any kind of heart surgery,” Brady explained “But my doctor reassured me that my age would not be a problem, and I knew I had to take action if I wanted to get back to my life.”
Dr. Christopher Meduri of Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta recommended that Brady undergo TAVR with the Boston Scientific LOTUS Edge Aortic Valve System. This next-generation TAVR technology was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are at high risk for open heart surgery.
“Complete control over the procedure and confidence in the final result are incredibly important. We’ve had very good results with this new technology and it offers a minimally invasive, patient-centered treatment for those with aortic stenosis wanting to get back to their life as quickly as possible,” says Dr. Meduri.
Thanks to the valve’s design that makes it uniquely repositionable during TAVR, physicians can precisely place the new valve into an optimal position within the heart to restore proper valve function. And because not everyone’s aortic valve is the same size, the device is designed to conform to the patient, which minimizes any leakage of blood around the outside of the valve that could lead to future complications.
“I feel like I have a new lease on life,” says Brady, now 90. “With my heart in good health, I have so much energy to do the things I’ve always loved, like golfing and spending time outdoors with my wife. I’m so grateful for the peace of mind this procedure has given me.”
For more information about severe aortic stenosis, TAVR and the LOTUS Edge valve, visit TreatTheHeart.com.
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of aortic valve disease, talk to your doctor right away.