There is a minimally invasive surgery in Buffalo that is replacing open heart surgery in some cases and are changing the medical game with the positive results.

It's called Trans-Catheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR for short. The procedure is performed by inserting a catheter through the upper leg and maneuvering it through the body to bring a valve into the heart, according to WIVB.

According to News Reports, the leg is the only incision point which makes the recovery process a lot shorter than it would for open heart surgery. Going from weeks or months to just days with TAVR.  It's good for people who are too sick to get open heart surgery as well as people who are healthier.  TAVR is becoming well recognized because it was used on Mick Jagger who needed a heart valve replacement and will hopefully be rejoining the Rolling Stones, who are on tour, soon. It was also helpful for Lackawanna resident Donna Couhig who would be out of breath by just walking 20 steps. Her surgery was on November 1st. She was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and went home in one and a half days.

"And I feel much better" she says

TAVR has been commercially available since 2011 and has been performed at Mercy Hospital since 2015.

“It definitely is a large advance because many more patients are being treated now than could otherwise be treated with lower risk than would have been in the past", said Dr. Joseph Gelormini.

Dr. Gelormini is a catheter-based-techniques expert surgeon, and he works alongside Stephen Downing who is a traditional heart surgery expert. The duo works on TAVR procedures at Mercy Hospital.

Dr. Gelormini is an interventional cardiologist and co-director of the Cardiac Cath Lab. Dr. Downing is the chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Mercy Hospital according to WIVB

“Now, we can offer surgery to patients who were really too sick to get through regular surgery,” Dr. Downing said. “Now we can offer much quicker recovery to a large group of patients, so it changes your strategy.”

Couhig is enjoying her increase in energy

“I feel great. I even try to find other things to do because I have more energy now,” Couhig said.

There are still reasons to get open heart surgery, for example, you could have more than one problem with your heart, which would cause the surgeon to open your chest, But others can still benefit from TAVR. Ask your doctor if TAVR is right for you.

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