Alternative to Open Heart Surgery now an option in Carbondale - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Alternative to Open Heart Surgery now an option in Carbondale

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CARBONDALE -- Southern Illinois Healthcare's Praire Heart Institute in Carbondale is now offering an alternative to open heart surgery.

Doctors are able to make a small incision and run a catheter to the heart to replace a heart valve. Instead of a long recovery after surgery, this procedure helps patients bounce back in less than a week.

Doctors told 75 year-old Regina Einig she had severe aortic stenois, something 200,000 people are diagnosed with every year. Her cardiologist, Dr. Magdalena Zeglin, explained she had two options, but she needed to act fast.

"Once the symptoms start, patients don't live more than two years. We lose 50 perfect of them," said Dr. Zeglin.

Einig was already seeing symptoms, like labored breathing. Her options were open heart surgery or this minimally invasive procedure called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR.

Thankfully, just weeks before her diagnosis, Praire Heart Institute began performing the procedure in Carbondale.

"I am a musician and we say timing is everything and I thought 'wow, if I have to get this thing, I chose the right time to do it," said Einig.

Einig was relieved to be able to have the procedure here at home. She says it's amazing a heart procedure to fix something so serious, wasn't invasive and allowed her to bounce back quickly.

"I had the surgery on Thursday, went home on Saturday, went to church on Sunday and taught piano on Monday," said Einig.

Now that her heart is working normally again, she's breathing a sigh of relief. Her labored breathing is gone and she's back to doing the things she loves.

In Carbondale, 26 TAVR procedures have already been preformed since January. Doctors say this is something they'll start doing about twice a week.

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