Mercy Heart Center recently performed the area’s first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) on a patient under conscious sedation. Lake Township resident Carolyn Thomas, age 78, remained awake throughout the entire minimally invasive procedure to replace her aortic valve. The surgery was performed by Ahmed Sabe, M.D., medical director of Mercy Heart Center.
Using anesthesia on Thomas, who also suffers from fibrosis of the lungs, was not an option. “Because the patient’s aortic valve was 85 to 90 percent closed and her lungs filled with fibrosis-related scar tissue, she was out of breath constantly,” says Sabe. “It was too risky to perform a TAVR using small chest incisions. Instead, we entered through the femoral artery in the groin, which required only a sedative for relaxation and an anesthetic to block pain.”
Thomas was able to return home less than 48 hours following surgery. Her husband of 59 years, Michael Thomas, says within 10 hours of surgery, his wife’s breathing had already improved. “We were so glad that she could stay in Canton and still receive this amazing surgery.”