EDIE PAINTER, NOW 77 YEARS OLD, WAS THE FIRST PATIENT TO UNDERGO A LIFE-CHANGING TRANSCATHETER AORTIC VALVE REPLACEMENT (TAVR) AT WASHINGTON HEALTH SYSTEM.
When Edie visited WHS in January 2019, she had swollen ankles and was experiencing shortness of breath. Both are signs of aortic stenosis, a disease that narrows the aortic valve. Aortic stenosis can cause heart failure and other complications.
“The doctors told me that my valve was closing,” Edie recalls. “I had to choose whether to leave the valve alone or to have it replaced. If I didn’t have it replaced, they told me I might only have two years to live.”
Luckily, Edie was a candidate for TAVR, a procedure that bypasses open surgery in favor of a minimally invasive approach. During TAVR, a replacement valve is delivered to the aorta through one of the body’s larger arteries. The new, functioning valve is then placed inside of the old, damaged one, restoring proper blood flow to the body.
THE RIGHT CHOICE
Edie decided that TAVR was the right choice for her. Though she was the first patient to undergo TAVR at WHS, she had full confidence in her doctors, nurses and support staff.
“People asked me ‘Aren’t you afraid to be the first one?’” Edie remembers. “I answered, ‘No, not at all. They’re going to do their best job on me.’”
On September 25, Edie’s TAVR procedure was a success. She went home the next day, and her symptoms have already begun to subside. “We couldn’t have asked for a better first procedure,” says Kim McCrerey, TAVR Nurse and Structural Heart Coordinator at WHS.
Kim McCrerery, TAVR Nurse and Structural Heart Coordinator at Washington Health System, helps patients navigate their cardiovascular care. Whether she’s scheduling appointments, answering questions or providing emotional support, patients can count on Kim.
“Kim is a terrific nurse and liaison,” says Edie Painter, TAVR patient at WHS. “She helped me with scheduling and moral support, and she was there for every appointment. I talked to her at 4:30 in the morning on the day of my procedure.”
“I talk to Edie often—she and I are best friends,” McCrerey says. “Having one contact person makes everything easier for patients and providers.”