Opening Their Hearts
Aortic valve procedure gives individuals a new lease on life
For Harold Livesay, PhD, 79, the day was planned around a series of benches or other resting stops within steps of each other as the history professor crossed the Texas A&M University campus. For Jerry Don Manning, 75, the chore to feed his chickens and yearling cattle on his land near Crockett, Texas, meant leaning on his pickup truck, the midway point between the house and shed.
Life had slowed to a crawl for these two men, both hindered by the constant need to stop and catch their breath and ease the burning chest pain long enough to start moving again. Each was at the mercy of a failing aortic valve that no longer was able to push enough blood from his heart to the rest of his body.
The solution was a new valve but both men had previous heart surgeries that made them poor candidates for open surgery, the standard treatment. Fortunately for them, they learned of a relatively new procedure: transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). They only had to travel as far as the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center to find the team of experienced TAVR physicians from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.
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