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The TAVR procedure - an alternative to open heart surgery

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Kathie and Brendan Holihan have been married for 57 years and he jokes that 56 of those years have been healthy ones. Late last year, Brendan found out he had heart disease and doctors said his aortic valve had to be replaced.

He was a candidate for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR, a less invasive alternative to open heart surgery which carries much greater risk and rehabilitation.

The Holihans are unique because both had the TAVR procedure done at Commonwealth Health’s Regional Hospital of Scranton. By necessity, Kathie was first.

Kathie Holihan, a TAVR Patient, said “I told him it was the way to go, i also had open heart surgery three years ago so i knew the difference, i said you should have the tavr.”

The TAVR procedure uses a catheter to implant a new heart valve instead of opening up the patient’s chest. The first TAVR procedure was done at Regional Hospital late in 2016. Brendan is delighted with his outcome and his doctors.

Brendan Holihan, also a TAVR Patient, explains “you’re able to reach out and talk to the doctors and you shouldn’t be afraid to do that, some people avoid doctors and say I hate doctors. I don’t, I kiss them!”

Kathie says, “very grateful. All the way through i said i have 10 grandchildren to live for, that’s what’s important.”

In addition to their family, the Holihans also say there’s one other thing that’s helped them every step of the way…

Brendan says, “we always kept a sense of humor…..isn’t that right? Hahahha”

Most patients can go back to normal activities and resume their lifestyle faster than with major surgery.

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