'An unbelievable save': Heart team performs emergency TAVR in 10 minutes

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Interventional cardiologist Richard Zelman, MD, has performed about 245 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures since it debuted at Cape Cod Hospital two-and-a-half years ago. But never one like he experienced in August.

Ann Bodio, a 71-year-old retired nurse, repeatedly went into cardiac arrest upon presentation at the hospital, according to a Cape Cod Times article.

Risk was too high to consider surgery, and there wasn’t enough time to wait for a representative from the heart valve manufacturer to guide the team through the process of positioning the replacement valve inside a balloon at the end of a catheter.

“It’s very unusual for someone to come in the ER and need emergent valve replacement,” Zelman told the Cape Cod Times. “It’s a unique situation.”

The cardiology team did what it could. A technician contacted the device representative on FaceTime and took instructions as Bodio received chest compressions.

The compressions stopped briefly as Zelman guided the replacement valve toward the patient’s heart. A procedure that normally takes more than an hour was completed in 10 minutes.

Bodio’s heart beat returned a short while later.

“The next morning, she woke up and was perfectly fine neurologically,” Zelman said. “It was literally an unbelievable save.”

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