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How Gloria's New Heart Valve Changed Her Life [Video]

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014

Not willing to slow down, she had a revolutionary new procedure that revived her energy and gave her new reasons to smile.

Having a major heart procedure on Halloween might scare most people; but not Gloria Lechowicz.

On October 31, the 86-year-old was one of the first patients to have Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) at Doylestown Hospital.

Advanced Care for Heart Valve Disease

"I had all the confidence in the doctors. They told me I was a good candidate for this procedure. They explained everything to me," said Gloria.

She had the innovative minimally-invasive procedure on a Thursday morning and spent only three days in the hospital - she went home on Sunday.

The aortic stenosis that affected Gloria's heart valve had caused it to narrow and open improperly. She felt the usual symptoms of this condition: fatigue, shortness of breath and minor chest pain.

Other cardiologists told Gloria she needed a new aortic valve, but that open-heart surgery was too risky for her due to her age and other medical conditions. TAVR is the only option to replace a damaged aortic valve for patients who cannot have open-heart surgery.

A team of physicians from the Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital carefully reviews each case to determine who meets the eligibility requirements for TAVR. Also, a valve clinic coordinator works with each patient and their family to guide them through every step of care.

So, how did Gloria feel just a couple months after TAVR?

"I feel like I'm 10 or 15 years younger. I can do the things I want to do now. It's made my life a lot easier. The doctors are the best. They got me back to normal. Actually, better than normal."

Aortic Stenosis Symptoms

People with aortic stenosis may have no symptoms until late in the course of the disease. Symptoms may include:

  • Breathlessness with activity
  • Chest pain
    • Squeezing, pressure and tightness
    • Pain increases with exercise, is relieved with rest
    • Pain is felt under the chest bone but may move to other areas, often to the left side of the chest.
  • Fainting, weakness or dizziness with activity
  • Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)

Find a Cardiologist Near You

About Doylestown Health's Heart Institute

Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. The multidisciplinary team at the Heart Institute is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.

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