New Valve Heals Ailing Hearts

Monday, December 19, 2011 - 10:39am

Less invasive surgery means quicker recovery for patients.

Sol Shack has a big heart.

The 91-year-old volunteers his time singing to patients at the Montifiore senior care facility in Beachwood, Ohio.

His efforts even won him a Volunteer of The Year award.

A few months ago Sol's heart was getting weaker as his aortic valve started failing.

He could barely walk down the halls of Montifiore without having to stop to rest.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue and fainting.

It's a common ailment with age.

Treatment typically requires a valve replacement, but for those who are too frail, there were no other options until now.

University Hospitals is testing a new synthetic heart valve that is implanted over the old one using a catheter instead of open heart surgery.

It's called TAVI for transcatheter aortic valve implantation.

Once Sol's aortic valve was replaced with the synthetic one, his blood began flowing freely and gave him the energy to get back to his music.

Risks include stroke and the potential for open heart surgery if necessary.

The procedure is performed in a hybrid operating room that has both a catheter lab and surgery capability.

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