Harry was taken to Southside Hospital, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and spent a few days on intravenous antibiotics. Puneet Gandotra, MD, his cardiologist and vice chair of cardiology at Southside Heart & Lung, visited and told Harry the pneumonia could be the result of fluid that had built up in his lungs from underlying heart problems.
Dr. Gandotra ordered a battery of tests that included a cardiac catheterization, a procedure that thoroughly evaluates the heart and looks for blockages. Harry was diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis, or the narrowing of the aortic valve, which can have debilitating symptoms that affect normal day-to-day activities. He was scheduled to receive a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure that can replace an artificial valve without the need for open-heart surgery.
But first, cardiac electrophysiologist Jason Chinitz, MD, implanted a specialized pacemaker called a cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemaker that helped regulate and optimize Harry’s heartbeat so that he could tolerate the TAVR procedure.
About two weeks later, cardiothoracic surgeon Harold Fernandez, MD, and the team performed the TAVR procedure. “The next day I was out of the hospital, and no one could believe it, including me.” At first, he was a little physically drained, but he soon found that walking helped him regain his stamina. He also avoided lifting anything for several weeks.
While he was recovering, he continued to see his doctors for follow-up appointments. At a visit with Dr. Chinitz, Harry found out that he had an arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. Dr. Chinitz treated it with cardiac ablation, a minimally invasive procedure in which doctors freeze or burn the area of tissue that is causing the problem. “It was 100% successful,” Harry said. “Now, I’m back to playing golf and doing whatever I want to do.”
Throughout his experience at Southside Hospital, Harry managed to keep any fears about his outcomes at bay. After Harry was discharged, a nurse practitioner visited him at home several times to check on his progress—part of the hospital's Follow Your Heart program.