Eight weeks of recovery time or back to work in just one? The choice was abundantly clear to Lynn M. when she was approved for a clinical trial that would use a minimally invasive procedure to replace her faulty heart valve.
When Lynn first learned from her primary care provider that she had a heart murmur, she was shocked because she had no symptoms and felt great. She eventually took action several months later when her endocrinologist persuaded her to see a cardiologist. He confirmed that Lynn would need a new aortic valve at some point in the near future and recommended that they monitor it closely for the time being.
The following year, a nuclear stress test and echocardiogram showed that her heart valve was worsening and needed corrective surgery. Lynn’s cardiologist explained that the procedure would require a large incision to open her chest and that she could expect an eight-week recovery period. He further recommended a hospital she was not terribly familiar with.
Lynn hesitated upon hearing this information and decided to consult a trusted client who happened to be a physician. She strongly recommended Morristown Medical Center based on their reputation for advancing cardiac care.
Lynn met with Dr. John Brown, the Grant V.S. Parr Chair, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery and Vice Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Morristown Medical Center, who reiterated that she would need her aortic valve replaced. Prior to the appointment, Lynn did some research and learned about a new minimally invasive procedure – transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) – which was approved for patients deemed too high risk for open-heart procedures. She asked Dr. Brown: if it could help an older, less healthy person, why not her? He provided her with information about an open clinical trial that might allow her to receive TAVR and the subsequent easier, shorter recovery she desired.
After a visit with Dr. Philippe Genereux, an internationally renowned cardiologist and Co-Director Valve & Structural Heart Center at Morristown Medical Center, Lynn found that she qualified for the trial and was thrilled.
“I didn’t need to get my chest cracked!” she exclaims.
Later that year, Lynn received the TAVR procedure with successful results.
“When the anesthesia wore off, I felt good enough to dance a jig,” she says. “I didn’t need any pain medication. I could not believe that all I had was a small bandage, and the next day, an even smaller one. It was truly an amazing process, absolutely amazing. Through all the appointments, testing and finally the procedure, everyone at Morristown Medical Center made me feel so comfortable and at ease. I knew it was going to go well.”
As expected, Lynn was back to work in eight days, not eight weeks, but the greatest benefit of TAVR for her was peace of mind.
“I’m healthy and it was easy!” she says.