Ivan Dassylva, a Lehigh Valley Health Network patient who had a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), and William Combs, MD, reunite during an event celebrating the first anniversary of the procedure.
Ivan Dassylva figured maybe his luck had run out after hearing about yet another heart problem last year. Then he came to Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) for a new procedure that changed everything.
“I had come in for an angioplasty and found out I had a bad heart valve,” the 81-year-old Hazleton, Pa. resident says. “I had already had open-heart surgery. I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
What was proposed to him was transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a new, less-invasive procedure for patients considered too high-risk for conventional open-heart valve replacement surgery. Without the surgery, Dassylva’s future was uncertain at best.
With TAVR, a valve is inserted into the patient’s diseases aortic valve via a catheter introduced through a tiny incision in the groin or chest. Lehigh Valley Health Network was the first in the region to perform this procedure.
Now, Dassylva feels better than he has in years. “It’s a miracle really,” he says. “I’m doing everything I was doing before I had these problems.”
Dassylva joined fellow patients who have benefited from TAVR on Thursday afternoon at a celebration of the first anniversary of the procedure at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest’s Kasych Family Pavilion. Read More»
On Jan. 22, Pamela Getz had a stroke while at work at Phoebe Services Pharmacy in Allentown. Her co-workers’ ability to recognize the signs of possible stroke and their quick action on her behalf got her to Lehigh Valley Hospital a short time later.
Ray Jones knew he was at risk for developing cancer. But even though he was proactive about getting his prostate checked, his cancer diagnosis overwhelmed him to the point he would pull over on his way from work and cry.
Perhaps equally unexpected are Jones’ feelings that his cancer journey has been a “wonderful experience.” Lehigh Valley Health Network urologist Angelo Baccala Jr., MD, performed robotic surgery to remove his prostate gland, and Jones received radiation treatments under the direction of radiation oncologist Charles Andrews, MD, because the cancer had spread beyond his prostate.
“They’re like family to me,” Jones says of his caregivers.
“When I first heard ‘cancer’ I wasn’t sure I’d make it back onto the field,” says Randy Seltzer, 55, of Macungie, Pa. “Returning to being an umpire feels great, because it’s something I really enjoy.”
When 55-year-old Randy Seltzer was diagnosed with bladder cancer last fall, he feared he wouldn’t return to the baseball field, where the former minor league pitcher has been umpiring high school games for eight years. But he’s back in his uniform, after having robotic surgery that paved the way for a speedy recovery.
Seltzer, of Macungie, Pa., had his bladder and prostate gland removed – a procedure called a cystoprostatectomy – using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System. He was discharged from the hospital after just four days and back to his full-time job three-and-a-half weeks later.
“We had step-by-step guidance the entire way,” says his wife, Deb. “The team answered all our questions in great detail and helped us make informed decisions.”