Unable to get up most days, Jane Golob, 80, was crippled by pain and fatigue.
But after a successful heart value replacement using a fairly new procedure at Piedmont Athens Regional, Golob is back to her normal life on her Athens ranch.
“I couldn’t even function because I was so tired and out of breath,” Golob said. “I would get headaches that would spread into my neck and back. Sometimes the pain was so bad I couldn’t even eat.”
After seeing several specialists, Golob, who’d been dealing with heart disease for nearly 20 years, visited Ben Holland, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Piedmont Heart of Athens, to see if the pain was related to her heart.
“Jane was dealing with severe aortic valve stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve opening, which is one of the most common, but also the most serious, heart valve disease problems,” Holland said. “The condition usually begins between ages 60 to 70, but often doesn’t show symptoms until around Jane’s age.”
Overtime, aortic stenosis continues to progress and will not get better without treatment. Typical treatment includes a valve repair or replacement, and the procedure used depends on several factors, including the severity of a person’s symptoms and the risks of surgery.
“Because of the severity of her symptoms, Jane needed a valve replacement, but because of her age and condition, she was too high risk for the standard replacement surgery,” Holland said.
Instead, Holland and his team completed a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, which is a fairly new procedure in which his team replaced Golob’s valve by implanting a new valve within the old one through a very small opening. The procedure is minimally invasive compared to a typical replacement, which requires open heart surgery.
“It was all very simple. Dr. Holland didn’t even need to put me to sleep during the surgery, and I was home by the next day,” Golob said. “I haven’t had any headaches or pain since.”
Since her valve replacement, Golob has also regained her energy and returned to tending to the work on her ranch.
Aortic valve stenosis most commonly occurs in older adults. Typical symptoms include breathlessness, chest pain, pressure or tightness, fainting and decline in activity level or reduced ability to do normal activities.
For more information about heart valve disorders and treatment options, visit piedmont.org/heart.