Our Take: Beacon surgeon explains Mick Jagger TAVR procedure

IN THE NEWS: You may have heard that Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones was recently diagnosed with aortic stenosis, one of the most common heart valve diseases, which prompted him to undergo a medical procedure to repair the blocked valve. Click here to read a story about his diagnosis.

What you might not know is how Beacon patients don’t have to leave the area for this procedure; the surgery is done right here at Elkhart General and Memorial Hospital.

OUR TAKE: We asked Dr. Amjad Syed, Beacon Medical Group cardiothoracic surgeon, to talk about the symptoms of aortic stenosis and the minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure that Jagger and others are choosing. Dr. Syed offers this perspective:

“Up until recently, the only option available for patients suffering from aortic stenosis was open heart surgery. Patients would be placed on a heart lung machine and the old damaged valve would be cut out and replaced with either a mechanical or tissue valve. Recent advances have been made leading to minimally invasive methods, including smaller incisions and also incision-less procedures like TAVR.

“Since the procedure was approved in 2011, TAVR has really taken off and has been highly successful. It has given a new life to thousands of patients who were ailing with severe aortic stenosis and who were not candidates for surgery.

“Back when I started my practice, I remember I was ready to head home late one evening when I was called by a hospitalist about an older patient who was admitted in the hospital and was really struggling with severe aortic stenosis. The patient was debilitated with this disease and was hardly able to perform daily activities. In fact, the patient was on the verge of giving up. Multiple heart physicians were consulted and they suggested the patient go to hospice. After consultation with the family, the patient was going to be transferred to hospice that night when I was consulted. I found the patient to be full of life. After examination and review, I found the patient to have severe aortic stenosis, but felt the patient deserved the chance at life. I immediately stopped the transfer to hospice and had a long discussion about the options with the patient, extended family and physician team. We moved forward with TAVR within a week. The patient underwent the procedure successfully, spent some time in rehabilitation getting stronger and is still alive today.

“I understand Mick Jagger underwent the same procedure and I believe is recovering well. I don’t have any doubt that within no time he will be up and running and will be entertaining the people as he has done for years.

“I would suggest that patients who are experiencing symptoms of aortic stenosis – feeling tired, fatigue, excessive sleepiness, shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain, and the inability to perform activities of daily living — should see their primary care physicians and their cardiologists to get their hearts checked out for aortic stenosis, a highly dangerous and debilitating disease.

“We run a very successful TAVR program within our both hospitals at Beacon. We have a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, coordinators, and OR personnel, who specialize in performing such procedures. Over the last several years, we have treated thousands of patients. With such a robust program right here at EGH and Memorial, there is really no need for our patients to leave the area to get this procedure done.”