Livesaving cardiac procedure now available in Saskatchewan

June 22, 2017

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Livesaving cardiac procedure now available in Saskatchewan

His wife and children will be forever grateful he was able to have the TAVI procedure.

The TAVI team together after the first procedure was done in February 2017.

“Jerome suffered daily from cardiac pain due to his failing aortic valve. The immediate effect (after the procedure) was astonishing and Jerome continues to marvel how there is no pain,” says Geraldine Perron, wife of 78-year-old Jerome Perron, who received the transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) on February 28 in Regina.

The aortic valve separates the heart from the aortic artery, which delivers oxygenated blood from the heart to all parts of the body. TAVI is a procedure where surgeons utilize a long narrow tube called a catheter inserted in a large blood vessel in the groin or through a small incision in the chest to implant a new aortic valve in patients who are too fragile for open-heart surgery.  

Once the new valve is implanted, the catheter is removed and the new valve starts working immediately.

“I had my procedure and two days later I was home,” said Joseph Lorenz, another recipient of the TAVI procedure who at 90 years is impressed with how well he recovered. “It was nice to be so close to home.”

Wanting to be close to home is something Dr. Jeff Booker, a cardiologist with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and the lead physician on Joseph’s procedure, fully understands.

“It is so important this procedure be available to patients here in the province,” Dr. Booker said. “A lot of work has gone into setting up the program and it’s been amazing working together and watching the team grow.”

Dr. Booker along with Dr. Rashpal Basran, a cardiologist with Saskatoon Health Region who was the lead physician for Jerome’s procedure, have specially trained to allow them to perform this procedure for Saskatchewan patients.

“It has been my privilege to help Jerome and his family,” says Dr. Basran. “And I am excited for all the future patients, families and the province of Saskatchewan.”

Prior to being recommended for the procedure, patients are referred to a cardiologist and to a TAVI coordinator in either Regina or Saskatoon and undergo several tests including an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, a CT scan and an angiogram to ensure eligibility. Following the minimally invasive TAVI procedure, done in the catheterization laboratory (Cath Lab) at Regina General Hospital, patients typically stay in hospital for up to three days and are then discharged home. They receive follow-up care in either Saskatoon or Regina.

“The ability to have the TAVI procedure done in Saskatchewan, thus saving us from the unknown in Alberta, meant so much,” continues Geraldine, who lives with her husband in Kelvington. “We can only hope many others will have the same opportunity.”

Twenty-five patients will receive the TAVI procedure here in Saskatchewan over the next year. Dr. Basran and Dr. Booker, as well as the TAVI coordinators, continue to work together to review potential cases and coordinate procedures.

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