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."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
Truax and his wife Maxine live moved from their Hewitt
farm about a year ago to be closer to their children in the
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.
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.
The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is dedicated to creating a world without heart disease through groundbreaking clinical research and innovative education programs.