Couple Celebrates 60th Wedding Anniversary, Life-Saving Valve Replacement on Same Day

Northwestern Medicine
Cardiology September 02, 2016

Loretta and Roger Bovenkerk (seated) celebrated 60 years of marriage on August 25, 2016 at a lunch held for transcatheter valve replacement patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Joining them in the celebration were their daughters (from left) Jenny Piotrowski and Lornel Priebe, granddaughter Amanda Priebe and Dr. S. Chris Malaisrie, co-director of the Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Roger Bovenkerk's physician. Granddaughter Amanda works with Dr. Malaisrie.

Roger and Loretta Bovenkerk had 61 reasons to celebrate on August 25, 2016.
 
First, it was their 60th wedding anniversary.
 
Second, it was the celebration of Roger’s lifesaving heart procedure at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
 
The Bovenkerks joined more than 50 other families whose lives had been changed by transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive valve replacement procedure that is an alternative for patients who may have trouble with open heart surgery.

Doctors at the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute were some of the first in the country to offer the procedure through clinical trials, helping to pioneer the technology that is changing the face of cardiovascular care. After the 500th transcatheter valve replacement or repair in the summer of 2016, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute leaders decided to host a lunch for former patients to reconnect with caregivers and staff.
 
Joining the Bovenkerks were their daughters Lornel Priebe and Jenny Piotrowski, as well as granddaughter Amanda Priebe, an administrative assistant in the Northwestern Medicine Division of Cardiac Surgery.
 
Amanda first connected her grandfather to S. Chris Malaisrie, MD, who performed the TAVR on Roger in October 2015.
 
Roger Bovenkirk said his suburban physician was going to send him out of state for the procedure when Amanda let him know that Dr. Malaisrie and others at Northwestern Medicine performed TAVR much closer to his south suburban home.
 
“Dr. Malaisrie was wonderful, and I feel great now,” Roger Bovenkerk said.
 
“And he’s alive to celebrate his 60th wedding anniversary,” his wife Loretta added.

Patrick McCarthy, MD, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and chief of cardiac surgery at Northwestern Medicine, told those in attendance they were “pioneers” in a significant advancement in cardiac care.
 
“Ten years ago this was considered to be science fiction,” Dr. McCarthy said. “To see how far we’ve come has been remarkable, and we’re not stopping. In the next decade, we will be looking at the mitral and tricuspid valves.”

Learn more about Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.

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