He describes himself as a little bit hyper and highly motivated. Like so many of his generation, 85-year-old Louis Kartous isn’t one to just sit still, he’s always on the go. “I wake up every day at 4:30 in the morning, it’s just the way my body is programmed,” says Kartous.
Kartous recently became the 100th person to receive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Southwest. The TAVR procedure was approved by the FDA in November 2011. It offers a less invasive option for those patients deemed too high risk for traditional open heart surgery.
“Essentially the heart valve coming out of the aorta gets calcified and doesn’t open and close like it should which increases the pressure needed to eject blood flow through what is essentially a pinhole to the body,” says Dr. Earl Mangin, cardiologist, affiliated with Memorial Hermann Southwest. “Symptoms can be as simple as shortness of breath and lack of energy but if left untreated can result in death.”
Kartous has been seeing Dr. Mangin since 1998. “We met after Mr. Kartous suffered a heart attack several years ago. I’ve been seeing him regularly ever since,” says Dr. Mangin. “When he started experiencing shortness of breath and slowing down a bit, we knew it was time for the procedure.”
“I’m 85, I’m a Korean War Veteran, I’ve been around awhile,” says Kartous. “I’m hoping this will give me a few more miles.”
“That’s the goal and we’ve had a great deal of success with this procedure,” says Dr. Mangin. “This procedure has only been approved in the United States for a few years but we think as technology continues to improve, this procedure will become even easier to do and be even less invasive.”
A typical TAVR procedure takes about two hours from start to finish and most patients can go home three to five days after surgery. Traditional open heart surgery can last four to six hours, requires a longer hospital stay and a much longer recovery.
You can get more information on Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institutes at www.heart.memorialhermann.org.
Photo Caption: Dr. Earl Mangin, Cardiologist, and team from Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Southwest perform HVI’s 100th TAVR Procedure