500th TAVR Patient is Back to Normal Routine, Feeling “Great”

When walking short distances or climbing stairs left Harvey Radcliff short of breath, fatigued, dizzy and experiencing chest pains last year, he knew something was wrong. The specialists with Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute evaluated Harvey and discovered that his heart muscle was pumping at only 30% due to a thickening of one of his heart valves, a condition called aortic stenosis that restricts blood flow. Fortunately, a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement is highly successful for this problem, and Radcliff became the 500th patient to undergo the TAVR procedure at Baptist Hospital.

TAVR is a revolutionary minimally-invasive treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis and is an alternative for traditional open-heart surgery. In TAVR, a new valve is implanted through a catheter, making only a small incision in the groin or chest. Baptist was the first hospital to bring this life-saving treatment to the Florida Panhandle in 2014.

The symptoms Radcliff experienced are common in patients who suffer from aortic stenosis. Severe aortic stenosis is a serious problem. If left untreated and not repaired, it is potentially fatal. “My heart valve was wearing out, much like the parts on a car will after a while,” Radcliff said.

Interventional cardiologist Safwan Jaalouk, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, and cardiothoracic surgeon Russell Ronson, M.D., FACS, FACC, performed Radcliff’s TVAR. Radcliff said his procedure was completed in about two hours, and he was discharged the following day. He was back to his normal routine within a week. A year after his TAVR procedure, 66-year-old Radcliff said his heart is now pumping at 63% and he feels “great.”