Other than back pain, Anderson Daniels had no problems the first 70 years of his life. He had retired in 2007 after nine years in the Pattonville School District and more than 30 years as a bakery manager. He rarely missed a day of work. In 2004, he had his back pain treated surgically. During his evaluation, his doctor told him one of his kidneys was not working properly.
He didn’t think about it again until last year when Daniels began to notice worrisome symptoms. He had become short of breath, and his ankles and legs were swelling.
Lissa Lopez, MD, his nephrologist, told him he needed dialysis, but Daniels wasn’t sold on the idea.
“I did not want to go on dialysis, so I saw a nephrologist, who specializes in kidney issues for a second opinion,” he said. Both nephrologists assured Daniels that dialysis was the best solution, but to see a cardiologist about his heart murmur first.
The Heart Murmur
“I always knew I had a murmur, so I didn’t think it was a big deal,” said Daniels. “I always had shortness of breath, too, but I ignored it. I thought it was just part of getting older.”
After his angiogram, his cardiologist, Dr. Howard Lite, shared the results and told Daniels it was more than a murmur. He had aortic stenosis, and his aortic valve was blocked. Days after learning he would need dialysis, he was told he also would need open heart surgery.
“Naturally, I went through the roof,” said Daniels. “I’ve never been sick in my life!”
Dr. Lite explained his condition and options. “I was scared,” he said. “But Dr. Lite brought out a model of a heart, and showed Laveda and I exactly what was going on.” Laveda is Daniels’ wife of 35 years.
A NEW TECHNIQUE.
Daniels and his wife went to see Dr. Michael Mauney, cardiothoracic surgeon, who spent a long time with the two reviewing Daniels’ treatment options. “He told me exactly what to expect with open heart surgery, but then he told me I might be a candidate for a new procedure – one that doesn’t require opening my chest,” Daniels explained. The new procedure is called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR for short. Rather than replacing the valve through open-heart surgery, the valve is threaded into place through a catheter in the groin or between the ribs, requiring only a tiny puncture.
PRAYING FOR AN OPTION.
Open-heart surgery is still the gold standard for valve replacement, but some patients, especially those with other illnesses, may not be able to handle an open-heart procedure. Daniels, who was 74-years-old at the time, was at risk. Considering his age and kidney disease, open-heart surgery was not an option for him.
“I prayed he would be a candidate,” said Laveda.
Around the same time Daniels received his bleak diagnosis, Missouri Baptist Medical Center had just been approved to perform TAVR, and Daniels was selected as one of the first patients to receive a new aortic valve using this new procedure.
“It feels like nothing happened,” said Daniels. “I was up and moving the next day, and I was back to normal right away. It was one of the easiest things I had to go through. My shortness of breath is gone. I’m so glad I was eligible for this procedure.”
BACK TO RETIREMENT.
Now, Daniels is back to his healthy lifestyle. Free of back pain and shortness of breath, Daniels is enjoying retirement. His legs and ankles never swell anymore, thanks to the dialysis he receives three times a week. “I feel like a new man.”
To date, more than 25,000 people have been implanted with this new transcatheter valve. Missouri Baptist offers this new and life-saving procedure.