25 December 2019 | A 68-year-old grandmother was able to enjoy the holidays at home, thanks to a life-saving alternate procedure to open heart surgery at Loma Linda University Health earlier this month.

Anita Bayerque was the recipient of the 500th TAVR procedure (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) performed by Loma Linda University International Heart Institute.

In June, Bayerque was diagnosed with severe aortic valve stenosis at the Institute. According to a Loma Linda University Health news story, she later went into a coma as her condition got worse, and Bayerque suffered heart failure during a medical evaluation.

She awakened two months later and was given the TAVR at Loma Linda University International Heart Institute.

“To be alive to see my family for the holidays is a miracle, and I thank Loma Linda University Health,” Bayerque said. “I am so grateful I fought to come here because they are so caring and the best at what they do. I felt my life was in good hands because I knew they would do what was best for me.”

Interventional cardiologist, Islam Abuddayeh, MD, helped perform the procedure. He commented on the experience:

“The Loma Linda University Health mission is to make man whole. We keep in mind that we are taking care of a person not a disease,” Abudayyeh said. “With that in mind, interventional cardiology treatments like TAVR are just the beginning for the Institute. We strive to find and utilize the best treatment options that will give our patients the quality of life they want.”

An alternative to heart surgery, TAVR treats aortic stenosis — a heart valve condition that reduces blood flow through the aortic valve.

In the procedure, a cardiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon puncture an artery in the leg through which they implant a new valve on a balloon slim enough to fit in the artery. This replaces the diseased valve. The procedure takes under an hour and usually allows the patient to go home the next day.

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