Last year, Bessie went through a big change of her own. Despite a lifetime of being active and healthy, she began feeling short of breath just climbing the stairs in her summer home on Long Beach Island.
Her daughter and son-in-law noticed her labored breathing. “They said I needed to get it looked at,” Bessie said. “That’s what started this whole thing.”
Bessie met with heart care experts at Staten Island University Hospital, where she received a diagnosis of acute aortic stenosis, a dangerous narrowing of a heart valve. Interventional cardiologists Gregory Maniatis, MD, and Mohammed Imam, MD, talked to Bessie about her options. After discussions with the doctors and her family, she opted for coronary artery bypass surgery, convinced that it would be a better choice than stents—another option they presented.
“My doctors were very good at explaining to me the pros and cons of the different things they could do to help,” she said. “I was a little nervous about the idea of open-heart surgery, but they told me that in spite of my age, they thought I’d make a good candidate because I was so healthy otherwise.”
Bessie credits the excellent care she received from the surgeons and nurses at Staten Island University Hospital. Even though her recovery was remarkably fast, she still had lingering problems with shortness of breath.
Dr. Imam and Dr. Maniatis recommended she undergo a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure that replaces a damaged aortic valve.
“This procedure is much less invasive than traditional surgical aortic valve replacement and is fast becoming the standard of care for older patients,” Dr. Maniatis explained.
“I have to tell you, the TAVR was just wonderful,” Bessie said. “I was home two days after that procedure—and it really did not bother me at all. And within a couple weeks, I was feeling very, very well.”
She remains grateful to Dr. Maniatis and Dr. Imam for giving her what she calls a “second chance.”
“I was so lucky. If I had waited another few years, who knows what would have happened? The doctors and staff were very caring and very good with their work. They were just top-notch.”