Many years ago, Jack Swihart had open heart surgery after experiencing a silent heart attack. The surgery ended up saving his life.
However, two years ago, Jack’s aortic valve was in bad shape. He was also experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding while on a blood thinner. The traditional method of replacing an aortic valve is through open heart surgery. At 82 years old, Jack would be considered a high-risk patient for this procedure.
For a while, it appeared open heart surgery was Jack’s only option. Fortunately, his former cardiologist recommended him to Sandeep Patel, MD, Mercy Health Interventional Cardiologist. Dr. Patel suggested both the TAVR and Watchman procedures for Jack.
TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that allows surgeons to access and fix the aortic heart valve without opening the chest.
The Watchman procedure is also a minimally invasive procedure that uses a device to close off a small chamber at the top of the heart. This device is designed for patients with atrial fibrillation who cannot tolerate blood thinner medication for numerous reasons. It helps decrease the risk of blood clots and strokes.
“When Dr. Patel talked to me about the surgeries, I told him ‘it doesn’t look like I have much of a choice,’” Jack says.
Dr. Patel performed the first TAVR procedure at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center back in 2018, while the Watchman procedure has been offered at St. Rita’s since 2017. Jack was one of the first cases at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center where two transcatheter procedures were performed to treat two different heart ailments.
Since the TAVR and Watchman procedures are minimally invasive, Jack’s hospital stay was less than 24 hours. His recovery time was short, and his quality of life was restored in seven days.
Jack is now doing much better and is extremely thankful to Dr. Patel. Jack says the experience even allowed him and his wife to become good friends with Dr. Patel and his wife.
“I think Dr. Patel and his staff are wonderful, wonderful people,” Jack says. “I’m pleased we were set up with Dr. Patel. He is a godsend for us.”
Learn more about the heart and vascular services offered at Mercy Health.