Dorothy Lowman, 99, visited the Dallas Valve Institute at Medical City Dallas in November due to aortic stenosis, a serious valve disease that occurs when a heart valve is too narrow. With 200,000 cases per year, it’s fairly common. According to QJM, a medical journal, aortic stenosis predominantly affects the elderly. Surgical units operating on a large number of patients have reported a less than 10-percent mortality rate. However, Lowman was previously told her condition was untreatable due to her age.
Dr. Bruce Bowers, an interventional cardiologist at Medical City Dallas, and Dr. Todd Dewey, a cardiovascular surgeon, were able to help. They performed a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. According to the
American Heart Association, TAVR is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that repairs the old, damaged valve without removing it. The procedure is for intermediate or high-risk patients—those who couldn’t have an open-heart surgery because it would pose an immediate risk.
“The average age of a TAVR patient is typically 83 years old,” says Bowers. “However, there is typically a difference in a patient’s cardiovascular age and actual age.” Eligibility for the TAVR procedure is not always determined by age. The risks associated with getting the procedure depend on each patient’s overall health. “For many patients in their nineties, TAVR is their only option of treatment because many can’t undergo open-heart surgery due to their age,” Bowers says. TAVR is approved and available for qualifying patients receiving Medicare and Medicaid.
Blowing out your birthday candles is always a joy, especially when there are nearly 100 of them. The TAVR treatment could extend Lowman’s life by about five years. And, her quality of life has improved with a minimal degree of risk from the TAVR procedure. The same medical staff that cared for Lowman during her invasive heart treatment helped her celebrate her 99th birthday on Thursday, January 25th.