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Healthwatch 16: Heart patient benefits from procedure 10 years later

A man from Selinsgrove was one of the first people to receive a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) at Geisinger.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Dale Beaver of Selinsgrove no longer dreads his cardiac appointments at Geisinger. Since his surgery ten years ago, Dale has had no issues.

"I'm feeling pretty good all the time!"

It was a different story 10 years ago. Dale has had heart problems for as long as he can remember.

"If I'd run up the steps or something like that, I'd get pain," he recalled.

"He couldn't do much of anything without chest pain. He was getting very short of breath. His quality of life at that point was not optimal," said Tom Bules, a certified registered nursing practitioner with Geisinger.

Dale needed to have a valve replaced in his heart, but his doctors at Geisinger thought open-heart surgery would be too risky for him. So dale was the 11th patient to receive a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement at Geisinger. The minimally invasive heart procedure replaced an aortic valve that did not open properly. The procedure is done through small incisions rather than opening the patient's chest. It uses a catheter to insert the valve.

"I have a mark about the size of a quarter on the inside of my right leg. It's the only mark I have, and I've never had any pain."

Since Dale's procedure ten years ago, it has become fairly routine at Geisinger. Nearly 900 people have had the procedure.

"Most patients will tell you, ' I noticed I felt better. As soon as I got up to my room, I noticed I could breathe better, and I could feel a difference,' as soon as they put that new valve in," Bules said.

Now at 89 years old, Dale is an advocate for the procedure and talks to other people who may benefit from it.

More information on TAVR is available on Geisinger's website.