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Baylor Scott & White celebrates one-year anniversary of TAVR procedure

Non-invasive heart procedure is saving lives in the Brazos Valley
Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station is celebrating a big anniversary this...
Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station is celebrating a big anniversary this month.(KBTX)
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 10:03 AM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station is celebrating a big anniversary this month.

Last year, they became the first hospital in the Brazos Valley to bring transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, to our area.

Robert Wimberly is 86 years-old and says he’s always had issues with his heart, but never like he did nearly a year ago.

“I woke up about 1:00 in the morning. I thought at first I was just laying wrong on this arm, but then after I laid there a while, I realized that pain was down he left side of my chest. It wasn’t super severe, but it wouldn’t go away,” Wimberly said.

Robert was having a heart attack. He was rushed to Baylor Scott and White Medical Center College Station.

“They did an echocardiogram and I could tell by the way the man was looking when they did that that he was seeing something not good. They discovered I had a heart valve that was not in good shape at all,” said Wimberly.

Luckily for Robert, the College Station hospital started doing transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedures just the week before. It’s a minimally invasive procedure, an alternative to open-heart surgery. Robert was a perfect match and also one of the first patients to receive it.

Learn more about the transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure below.

“They went up through that aortic vein, all the way to my heart and did it. Amazingly, I walked out of the hospital the next afternoon,” Wimberly said.

Dr. William Gray is the head of the TAVR team at Baylor Scott and White. He says the benefits of the procedure are almost immediate.

“To a person, every one of those patients, the next day, they know something is different,” Gray said.

Gray and other professionals say the rewards associated with TAVR are similar in some ways to surgery, just without the lengthy recovery.

“The removal of the restriction of the aortic stenosis immediately opens them up, their heart is working less hard at rest and opens them up for the ability to exert themselves with much less symptoms and develop their endurance and their functional capacity,” said Gray.

Doctors told Robert without the procedure, his time was limited.

Today, aside from a little help from a cane, he’s recovering well.

“The Lord had to make me sick so he could make me well,” Wimberly said. “I’m just doing fine ever since. I’m 86 years old and going strong.”

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