Wheaton man regains his “zip” thanks to new cardiovascular procedure at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital

Northwestern Medicine
Cardiology August 04, 2017

97-year-old David Olson, of Wheaton, has more energy than many folks half his age. He continues to work at his wholesale business four days a week and visits the gym regularly. However, in recent years he began to gradually feel weaker and more exhausted. He assumed it was just old age, but his doctor diagnosed aortic stenosis, one of the most common and most serious valve disease problems.

Olson says he now has “the zip” back in his step following a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

Over time, Olson’s aortic valve had thickened, resulting in a narrowing of the opening and restricted blood flow from the heart. His heart had to work much harder and his body was getting less oxygen. Due to Olson’s age, traditional open heart surgery to replace the faulty valve could be risky.

“With TAVR the aortic valve is replaced using a catheter-based technique avoiding a major open heart surgery,” said Imran Ahmad, MD, interventional cardiologist, Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group, who performed the procedure with Nauman Mushtaq, MD, medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Central DuPage and Delnor Hospitals; and Andrei Churyla, MD, cardiac surgeon, Northwestern Medical Group.

In a Cardiac Cath Lab, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons thread a new valve to the heart via a catheter, or tube, inserted in the patient’s groin or a small incision under the patient’s ribs. The new valve is securely placed within the diseased valve. Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way and the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.

Transcatheter techniques like those used in TAVR allow the procedure to be performed while the patient’s heart is still beating, eliminating the need for a “bypass” machine and its associated risks. Olson spent just a few days in the hospital and was thrilled to quickly return to his active life.

“I believe in enjoying every moment,” said Olson. “The opening in my aortic valve was about the size of a pencil. When they put the new valve in, it enlarged the opening to the size of a quarter. No wonder I was so exhausted. Immediately after the procedure I felt amazing.”

TAVR is one of several cutting-edge cardiovascular procedures newly available at Central DuPage Hospital following the expansion of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to the western suburbs in early 2017. Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the top 10 national programs for cardiology and heart surgery, according to U.S. News & World Report, and consistently ranked the top cardiovascular program in Illinois and the surrounding states.

“Being part of an Academic Medical Center allows us to rapidly learn and offer advanced treatments to our patients close to their homes,” said Dr. Mushtaq.

Learn more about the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Central DuPage Hospital or call 630.232.0280.

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