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Former Wadena-area resident is Abbott Northwestern Hospital's 100th TAVR patient

MINNEAPOLIS 08/20/2013

Lawrence Truax, a retired farmer from Hewitt, Minn. was in relatively good health for his 89 years. But a few months ago, he began having trouble breathing because of his aging aortic valve which had become severely narrowed.

About 300,000 people are diagnosed with aortic stenosis each year, but less than a third can undergo open heart surgery to replace the valve.Ready to go home, Lawrence walks the hall at the hospital"Some people are born with heart valve disease, but it is largely a disease of older people, who are often not good candidates for traditional open heart surgery. That's a tragedy.

"They might otherwise be healthy individuals entitled to and capable of enjoying a much higher quality of life and in addition, preserve their independence. Without valve replacement, their health will inevitably decline," said Wesley Pedersen, MD, an interventional cardiologist who leads the Valve Center at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Truax and his wife Maxine live moved from their Hewitt farm about a year ago to be closer to their children in the Twin Cities.

After a battery of tests and multidisciplinary physician evaluations, Truax was declared a good candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR.

Because the new technology makes it possible to replace the valve by way of a catheter through an artery in the leg, TAVR is giving many people a new lease on life.

"I feel perfect. I'm looking forward to taking walks and playing cards and bingo," said Truax as he left Abbott Northwestern, five days after his procedure.

Truax was the 100th person to have a TAVR procedure on August 14 at Abbott Northwestern. 100 is a big number, because TAVR was FDA-approved less than two years ago. Physicians and staff at Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern had a head start on the new technology, thanks to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation's participation in two major clinical trials that led to the FDA approval.

About Minneapolis Heart Institute®

Part of Allina Health, the Minneapolis Heart Institute® is recognized internationally as one of the world's leading providers of heart and vascular care. This state-of-the-art facility combines the finest in personalized patient care with sophisticated technology in a unique, family-oriented environment. The Institute's programs, a number of which are conducted in conjunction with Abbott Northwestern Hospital, address the full range of heart and vascular health needs: prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

About the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is dedicated to creating a world without heart disease through groundbreaking clinical research and innovative education programs.

  • Scientific Innovation and Research – Publishing more than 120 peer-reviewed studies each year, MHIF is a recognized research leader in the broadest range of cardiovascular medicine. Each year, cardiologists and hospitals around the world adopt MHIF protocols to save lives and improve patient care.
  • Education and Outreach – Research shows that modifying specific health behaviors can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Through community programs, screenings and presentations, MHIF educates people of all walks of life about heart health. The goal of the Foundation’s community outreach is to increase personal awareness of risk factors and provide the tools necessary to help people pursue heart-healthy lifestyles.

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, home oxygen and medical equipment and emergency medical transportation services

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