Many patients who come to the Center for Advanced Cardiac Surgery have a story to share about their care, recovery, and success after surgery or other treatments.
Read on to learn more about our patients’ experiences
As a professional writer, Katherine K. of Worcester, Mass., can create a compelling story that will keep her readers engaged and entranced. And, while a happy ending isn’t always a guarantee, Katherine’s own personal story thankfully has its own happy ending thanks to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center’s Arvind Agnihotri, MD, chief of the Center for Advanced Cardiac Surgery and his team.
Until recently, the 65-year-old writer was successfully managing chronic mitral valve prolapse. With routine visits to her personal care physician and a focus on healthy living including walking for one- to two-hours several times a week, Katherine was not immediately concerned when her doctor detected that her heartbeat was louder than usual.
“I’ve been able to feel my heartbeat for my entire life,” Katherine said. “It’s part of the mitral valve prolapse condition. In retrospect, my thumps had become more forceful in recent months, but I’m very active so didn’t consider it an issue.”
Her physician ordered an echocardiogram and after a follow-up with a local cardiologist, they found a ruptured mitral cord that needed repair. As this is significant surgery, with the potential of a long recovery, and Katherine was readying to start a new book, her cardiologist recommended a robotic mitral valve repair procedure. Katherine was referred to Dr. Agnihotri, who determined that the robotic procedure would be medically appropriate. “Katherine expressed a strong wish to avoid the side effects of a traditional mitral valve repair procedure including the need to sometimes break bones to access the heart. I counseled her that the procedure, while still invasive, would provide her with far less incisions, pain and recuperation time. She was thrilled with the option,” said Agnihotri.
According to Dr. Agnihotri, the procedure went exactly as planned. After a few days in the hospital, Katherine was discharged home for recovery and received home visits from the VNA. “Dr. Agnihotri and the St. Elizabeth’s team were extraordinary,” she said. “The explanations they offered were clear and thorough and I really understood every step of the procedure and care after the procedure. And, while I would counsel any patient considering this surgery that there are still post-surgical concerns, the recovery, compared to an open surgery, has been quick.”
Since her discharge in early February 2013, Katherine continues to regain her strength with the help of her husband John. She has begun rebuilding her endurance for her long daily walks and has been able to start a chapter of her new book.
“I would recommend anyone who is a candidate for this procedure to strongly consider it,” she said. “I wanted to get back to my regular life, my work, as quickly as possible, and I felt this procedure helped me achieve that goal.”
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Many patients who come to the Center for
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