Gannon, 78, went home for about a week to get things in order. He stayed with his son to finish pre-procedure testing, and then returned to LVH–Cedar Crest for the TAVR procedure with interventional cardiologist Shailendra Singh, MD, of Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute.
“We expediated the process to fix John’s valve as soon as possible to avoid a catastrophic outcome,” Dr. Singh says. “The unpredictability of critical aortic stenosis and syncope (fainting) can be extremely dangerous. I also knew that I had to get him through this safely to get him scheduled for his lung surgery to avoid further spread of his cancer.”
In a TAVR, your doctor places an expandable valve into your heart via a catheter (tiny, hollow tube). The catheter is inserted into an artery through your groin to replace the diseased aortic valve. At Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, TAVR is a more common procedure for severe aortic stenosis than surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), which requires an incision in your chest to access the heart to replace the valve. Less invasive procedures like TAVR commonly result in a faster recovery time, with less pain.
“The replacement of my heart valve without open-heart surgery was important. In the back of my mind was the spot on my lung. I didn’t want to have my chest cracked open and then have surgery again for my lung. Dr. Singh offered the less invasive valve replacement and it made sense from a health standpoint,” Gannon says.
Not only did Gannon’s TAVR procedure go perfectly, he recovered within a few hours and could already feel the difference. He did so well he was discharged from the hospital the next afternoon. Cardiothoracic surgeon Laszlo Fuzesi, MD, removed the cancerous spot from Gannon’s lung at LVH–Pocono in October and Gannon got the good news from doctors that the surgery was successful and the cancer hadn’t spread to other areas of his body.
Gannon, a widower with two sons and five grandchildren, says he took a clinical approach to the health issues he faced. “It was like it was happening to someone else,” he says. “I took the big view and didn’t get lost in the weeds.” Gannon says his job training and experience taught him to identify a problem and come up with and test solutions. “I took it in stride,” he says.