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Published on March 04, 2016

John Galanis & Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

 

John Galanis
Patient: John Galanis, Potomac, MD

Location: Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital

Service: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Doctor: Fayaz Shawl, MD

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.

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.

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I was born in Greece in 1933, and I came to the United States in 1951. About 20 years ago my doctor tells me that I had a mild aortic stenosis, mild. I didn't pay attention. He said it's not very bad now, but year-by-year it went from mild to severe.

Aortic stenosis is a heart disease wired by one of the main valves of the heart, called the aortic valve. Mr. Galanis had very serious critical aortic stenosis. He was having shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, and lack of stamina. When patients with aortic stenosis develop those symptoms, it is very serious because this can lead to heart failure and death.

Mr. Galanis was an excellent candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, also called TAVR, rather than traditional open heart surgery. In traditional heart surgery, you open the chest, take the old valve out and put the new valve in. In Mr. Galanis' case we were able to do the same thing but without opening the chest.

This is truly a collaborative approach. Both the cardiologist and the surgeon are doing the procedure together at the same time. There's one person performing the procedure, and one person there to stand by if there is a need for surgical intervention, we're able to stand by if needed.

We made a puncture in the upper thigh in the right-groin area, the valve is mounted on a catheter. As you can see, we will inflate the balloon, deflate the balloon, take the balloon, and the valve will stay in as you can see now the valve is opening and closing.

I was very much surprised to go through all these things and not feel anything. It's amazing, really amazing. I stayed the whole day there then the whole night, and the next day they sent me home.

You have a patient here with critical aortic stenosis, almost dying, and then you do this minimally invasive procedure, and within 24-48 hours there's a dramatic improvement. It's unbelievable.

I was so amazed by the attention and care these people gave me. You don't see this care anywhere else, you know.

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