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

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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