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Published September 18, 2012, 09:13 PM

A new revolutionary heart procedure is launched at Sanford

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- A fascinating and new life-saving heart procedure has just been launched at Sanford. It involves: No Surgery. And it is expected to revolutionize how people with failing heart valves get help.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- A fascinating and new life-saving heart procedure has just been launched at Sanford. It involves: No Surgery. And it is expected to revolutionize how people with failing heart valves get help.

Let's say you are either too old or your health too poor to make it through open heart surgery. Until now, your options are nearly zero. Go home from the doctor and wait for the end. Now those with "aortic stenosis", or failing heart valves have a new, life saving, painless option---that has them home in just two to four days.

Alice Braniff is up walking again. A tough task just weeks ago.

Alice: "I would huff and puff, and get winded."

Alice came to Sanford's Heart Center for a procedure called Tavi. Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement. A big name for a non surgical trip to the hospital.

People around our region are dying with aortic stenois because they are not surgical candidates. Alice is one of the first in our area to come in for this.

You can see this just doesn't open, it should look like a big triangle.

A heart valve failing, barely opening. Blood flow restricted. And surgery, no option.

"These are the sickest of the sick."

Using a collapsible heart valve, about the size of a wedding ring, heart surgeons send the valve through a catheter that enters the femoral artery in the groin.

Dr. Thomas Haldis/Sanford Health Center: "The valve is mounted on this balloon and we advance it up and around and across the aortic valve."

Using the a balloon, that artery is deployed, replacing the bad one. All without surgery.

It is a complicated two hour procedure with as one surgeon said a lot of moving parts, but when it is all said and done, patients are leaving in two days.

Dr. Cornelius Dyke/Sanford Heart Center-Fargo: "Recovery is fast and they will feel better quickly."

Alice's heart went from this to this. Little blood flow, to a healthy pumper. From a tired, exhausted body, to this.

Alice: "I feel great. Yeah."

Sanford is the first in the region to offer this. There are risks. But it is the newest, latest option for those given no options or little chance. And people like Alice are willing to play the odds in order for an improved life.

Alice: "Just mind boggling really."

So far, Sanford Heart has performed 7 of these cases, including 87-year old Alice Braniff. Sanford Sioux Falls is also doing the procedure.

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