A Complicated Medical History. A Minimally-Invasive Solution.
Mary Lou Green
An active real estate agent and community charity volunteer, 72-year-old Mary Lou Green is not one to let her vast medical history slow her down. Managing multiple autoimmune disorders for many years—including Hashimoto’s, Sjögren's and fibromyalgia, in addition to osteoporosis—Mary Lou was on medication to manage her pain.
When she learned she needed hip replacement surgery, Mary Lou also learned she would first need medical clearance from her other physicians. This led to routine tests, with results that were anything but routine.
In fact, it was discovered that Mary Lou had only two heart valves (bicuspid), as well as a hole in her heart. In order to have her hips replaced, she would first need to have her heart issues treated.
But it wasn’t that simple. Several doctors turned Mary Lou down for conventional heart valve surgery due to her high-risk health. As she began to learn all she could about her options, a friend suggested that Mary Lou attend a seminar on heart valve replacement surgery hosted by Scottsdale Healthcare.
“That was a very special night because it was at that point that I realized that Scottsdale Healthcare was the best place for me to go,” said Mary Lou. “I knew that with conventional surgery and having to have my chest cavity opened, it was going to be very risky in terms of healing.”
She then met with Scottsdale Healthcare cardiovascular surgeon Rajeev Kathuria, MD about a minimally-invasive approach where she could avoid a breast bone incision. Instead of open heart surgery, Dr. Kathuria recommended a mini-thoracotomy, which requires only a small 2-inch incision to perform heart valve replacement.
Mary Lou’s valve was replaced with a valve made from the lining of a cow’s heart, which is known as a bovine pericarodial valve. With this valve, she did not require medications for the valve or blood thinners, and there was no rejection.
Mary Lou’s recovery involved only a few days in the hospital followed by couple of days in rehab. The following week, she could drive and was back working as a real estate agent.
“The post-op was absolutely phenomenal! I had very little if any discomfort during the entire procedure,” said Mary Lou, whose heart now beats properly and more easily than her old valve that was tight from stenosis.
“Mary Lou made a complete recovery and even told me she could hardly believe she had surgery because she felt so good,” added Dr. Kathuria.
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