Cottage Health Volunteer Returns to Active Life After TAVR Procedure
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Even after open heart surgery for a six-way bypass in 2000, Bob Reed wanted to stay busy after retirement, so he began volunteering at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
In 2015, while working at the hospital volunteering, Bob was unaware that his heart’s aortic valve needed to be replaced. He just knew that he felt tired and out of breath, and his cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Aragon, could see that, too, when they bumped into each other during Reed’s Wednesday morning volunteer shift. Dr. Aragon even called to make a checkup appointment for him.
Tests showed that Reed’s aortic valve had narrowed, reducing blood flow to the body, a condition called aortic stenosis, which affects about 1.5 million Americans. Instead of having open heart surgery again, Dr. Aragon explained that Reed could have the valve replaced through a less invasive procedure that Cottage Health recently introduced to the Central Coast.
“He said, ‘It’s very simple, very easy.’ I said, ‘Good. Let’s do it.’”
Dr. Aragon led the team for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which is recommended for patients who face high risks with open heart surgery for age or other reasons. Reed had it done in September, two days before his 84th birthday.
Instead of making a chest incision, the team instead inserted a collapsible replacement valve into his leg and used his blood vessels as a pathway to the heart. Reed went home from the hospital three days later and after a few weeks, he was back at his volunteer post. “You’ll see me running through the hospital like I used to,” says Reed, who is also president of the local Mended Hearts support group. “Everything is back to normal.”