A cutting-edge cardiac procedure now available at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital offers hope and extends years of life for people suffering from a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve.

Potomac resident John Galanis, 83, was one of the first patients at Washington Adventist Hospital to benefit from a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in August 2015. This new alternative to open heart surgery treats severe aortic stenosis by replacing the diseased aortic valve through a minimally invasive approach.

John’s Urgent Need

Galanis, an investment business owner and active grandfather, was making the most out of his golden years while suffering from aortic stenosis for more than four years. As his condition progressed, he experienced symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, dizzy spells and lack of stamina.

After a visit to his cardiologist, Rakesh Sahni, MD, Galanis was referred to Fayaz Shawl, MD, an interventional cardiologist and director of interventional cardiology at Washington Adventist Hospital.

“Severe aortic stenosis is a serious and life-threatening condition, which is why Mr. Galanis required an immediate intervention,” Dr. Sahni explains. “Studies indicate that 50 percent of patients who do not receive an aortic valve replacement will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.”

Heart Care Team Springs To Action

TAVR was chosen as the best course of action given Galanis’ age and vulnerable condition. “TAVR allows interventional cardiologists to replace the heart valve through a catheter rather than opening up the chest and completely removing the valve,” Dr. Shawl says. “The recovery period lasts a few days rather than a few weeks compared with traditional open heart surgery.”

Galanis says, “I didn’t feel a thing! There was no pain anywhere.” He spent two nights at Washington Adventist Hospital.

Adds David Brill, MD, a cardiologist who has helped pioneer this new advancement at Washington Adventist Hospital: “TAVR prolongs life, helps eliminate the symptoms of aortic stenosis and allows patients to get back to active living. We are proud to offer this revolutionary cardiac procedure that is extending life and improving the quality of life for patients who would otherwise not have any options.”

Galanis is back to his routine and is grateful for his heart care experience. “It was the best place I’ve ever been,” he says. “I have never received such great treatment from doctors or staff.”