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Looking After Your Heart

Former local policeman David Nelson knows exactly what a TAVI procedure is. The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) replaces a diseased or damaged aortic heart valve and is done to treat aortic stenosis.

The 80-year-old father of four and his wife have been married for over 60 years.

David had some stents put in at Baulkham Hills Hospital back in the year 2000 and in 2011, he underwent heart bypass surgery at Norwest Private.

His family became worried when David would go to bed at night, and have trouble breathing and getting off to sleep.

The only way he could get a good night’s rest was sitting upright on a chair in the lounge room with a blanket around him. He would be out of breath just coming to sit at the table to eat.

Cardiologist Dr Jagger referred him to Dr Peter Fahmy at Norwest Private Hospital. Dr Fahmy says Aortic stenosis is a degenerative disease in the elderly population and is usually as a result of calcification building up on the aortic valve.

Slowly the calcification gets worse and worse, resulting in stenosis and narrowing of the aortic valve and resulting in aortic stenosis.

“Most patients would complain of shortness of breath. Unfortunately, when patients are getting older, they just feel it’s part of aging that they become deconditioned, and not able to do what they could do before.

“They get more short of breath, they feel fatigued and they feel that this is part of normal ageing. This is not the case.

“These days, the transcatheter approach to valve replacement has been studied significantly. We’ve shown that in high, intermediate and inoperable risk, that a transfemoral TAVI is better than open heart surgery.”

For David, the best thing about having a TAVI is that you don’t have to have open heart surgery, and recovery is quicker. David was in hospital for three days. He said “I was very happy it’s done. It was good because it’s a good hospital, and they look after you very well”.

Dr Peter Fahmy said: “Once you’ve relieved this obstruction (stenosis), as in put a new valve and treated the aortic stenosis, you can see a significant impact on their quality of life.

Before TAVI David had trouble getting on the mower. He had to pull himself up, and was struggling a bit; he can now get on and start her up. He says he also “has a lot more energy” than before.

His daughter Sue said there had been such a positive change in my dad. It’s really been a massive success.”

Dr Peter Fahmy’s rooms are located at Norwest Private Hospital. To book an appointment call 9633 2244.