Being a 75-year-old, I thought that I have been keeping myself in quite a good health. But about few months ago, I started to feel tired more easily and short of breath when doing my regular walking exercise. My doctor discovered that I had severe aortic stenosis – a very narrowed heart valve through which my heart bumped the blood out. Without treatment, my quality of life would remain poor, and the chances of getting heart failure or dying was about 50% within a year.
Even though my health has otherwise been good, just the thought of undergoing an open-heart surgery at 75 could be a major undertaking, let alone if there would be any complication that might cause a major setback of my life.
I was referred to the cardiac team in Royal Columbian Hospital, and after undergoing various tests, the physicians offered me the option of the transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), in which the doctor can insert a small tube into my groin artery and then deliver a new stent valve to replace the old valve without splitting my chest open.
The procedure was done while I was awake, and took less than an hour to finish. I was able to get up from my bed and walk around within a few hours after the procedure and went home the next day. The recovery time was really minimal. I was able to resume my normal activity such as golfing in a couple of days. Before the procedure, the cardiologist offered to me some of the new valve technology from a clinical study that Fraser Clinical Trials have been involved in. It is through the effort of constant improvement in the minimal invasiveness of the valve technology so that many of us who require this treatment can benefit now and in the future. Participation in the study costs me nothing, and I was glad to be able to benefit from the new technology and to help to advance science.