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Jul 17, 2019

TAVR patient celebrates 90th birthday just weeks after surgery

Ed Zeiger has had a heart murmur all his life.

Over the past few years, Zeiger’s cardiologist Val Lev, MD, had been monitoring his condition. But in March 2019, Dr. Lev, who practices at Pulse Heart Institute, told Zeiger it was time to get his heart valve fixed.

“I asked him what would happen if I don’t do anything, and the doctor says ‘How long you wanna live?’” says Zeiger. “That made it easy to decide.”

It was time to take action. Zeiger used to participate in Kiwanis, church and other community meetings, but he was having a lot of trouble breathing and would tire easily. Being that active was just too much for him, so he gave up a lot of the activities he enjoyed.

TAVR — a less invasive option for aortic valve repair

Zeiger had a couple of different options for surgery, but to make the best recommendation, he first hada cardiac catheterization procedure to check the condition of his coronary arteries and aortic valve. Then he met with a cardiothoracic surgeon to discuss his options, including open-heart surgery as well as a less-invasive option called transcatheter aortic valve repair (TAVR).

“It was surprising how quickly it all came together,” Zeiger says.

Ultimately, Zeiger was recommended as a good candidate for the TAVR procedure. It inserts a new valve inside the diseased aortic valve and doesn’t require the chest to be opened. Instead, a balloon-expandable aortic heart valve is inserted into the body using a catheter that travels through an incision in the patient's leg or chest.

Pulse Heart Institute was the first group in the South Sound to offer this less-invasive procedure.

A quick recovery, a milestone birthday

Zeiger’s TAVR surgery with Keith Havenstrite, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, and Kingson Momah, MD, interventional cardiologist, was April 23 at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. He was discharged just three days later.

In fact, just two hours after his procedure, Zeiger was feeling better already. His seven children noticed a marked improvement in him right away.

“I’ve definitely gotten stronger,” he says.

Zeiger’s recovery has been a lot faster than a traditional open-heart surgery. So fast, in fact, that he was able to celebrate his 90th birthday with his twin brother and 36 other relatives for a giant 17-day birthday extravaganza in Leavenworth.

After his big celebration, Zeiger was back at Pulse Heart Institute on June 14 for a post-op check-up with Kurt Kinney, interventional cardiologist.

Zeiger and his wife and Betty are so appreciative of the collaborative effort from the Pulse provider team, which included:

“We were so impressed with the people here and the hospital,” says Zeiger. “Dr. Havenstrite was constantly checking in with us. He is the most caring and conscientious doctor I've had. I can’t imagine getting better service than at Tacoma General. They’re state of the art here.”

Betty agrees.

“Anytime we’ve come into the office, doesn’t matter what nurse you have, everyone is so kind, helpful and nice,” she says.

Schedule an appointment at Pulse Heart Institute

The first step in addressing your heart concerns is to schedule an appointment with one of Pulse Heart Institute’s cardiologists. They have the expertise you need to evaluate, diagnose and recommend the right treatment for you. 

To schedule an appointment, please call our referral line at 253-572-7320 (Puget Sound region).
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