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Seton clinic ‘one-stop shop’ for heart disease patients

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Cardiologists Tannon Carroll (center) and Mark Pirwitz of Seton Heart Institute check the heart of Burnet resident Jess Posey, who recently underwent a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement at the institute. Courtesy photo

Cardiologists Tannon Carroll (center) and Mark Pirwitz of Seton Heart Institute check the heart of Burnet resident Jess Posey, who recently underwent a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement at the institute. Courtesy photo

BURNET — Longtime resident Jess Posey has been riding motorcycles for more than 60 years. But recently, his excursions were put on hold.

A couple of months ago, doctors told the 79-year-old Burnet man he needed a life-saving procedure to treat heart valve disease that was causing severe shortness of breath.

Posey was treated by physicians at the Heart Valve Clinic at Seton Heart Institute. They determined he would need a newer, minimally invasive procedure to save his life.

Two Seton Heart Institute cardiologists, Mark Pirwitz and Tannon Carroll, now provide initial consultations for conditions such as aortic stenosis, leaky heart valves and heart murmurs at Seton Highland Lakes Hospital, 3201 S. Water St. (U.S. 281) in Burnet.

Each patient is offered a comprehensive assessment of potential treatments by a multi-disciplinary medical team that includes heart surgeons and cardiologists.

“Essentially, it’s a one-stop shop for patients with valvular heart disease, eliminating the need for multiple visits to multiple specialists,” said Pirwitz, Seton Heart Institute’s president and chief executive officer. “Seton’s valve clinic offers the latest, minimally invasive treatments for valve conditions, which means Central Texans no longer have to travel to other cities to get state-of-the-art quality of care.”

Posey underwent a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which offers many benefits for heart patients with critical aortic stenosis, or severe narrowing of a heart valve. Posey, like many other heart valve patients, needed an invasive aortic valve replacement but was not a candidate for traditional “open heart” surgery.

A TAVR procedure places a new aortic valve into the heart via a catheter inserted through an incision in the groin area. Surgeons guide it up to the heart through the circulatory system. Posey is one of nine Central Texas patients who successfully underwent TAVR procedures at Seton since July 2014.

“The average hospital stay is two to three days,” said Carroll, co-director of the Seton Heart Valve Clinic. “This new treatment method can offer a much shorter recovery time — one to two weeks — versus six to eight weeks with the traditional sternotomy or open heart surgery.”

A post-surgery Posey is looking forward to getting back on the road.

“The procedure gives me new hope,” he said. “It’s been a little over a month, and I’m looking forward to a more active lifestyle again. Maybe I’ll even go golfing soon with my son-in-law and start riding my Harley again. I miss that.”

Go to www.seton.net for more information about the Seton Healthcare Family.

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