Alternative to open heart surgery with no large incisions

TAMPA - After her open heart surgery 13 years ago, Charlotte Encinares decided she wanted to help take care of others by volunteering at Florida Hospital Tampa.

But last year, she learned she would have to return to her role as patient.

Doctors told Charlotte she had three blocked arteries, on top of other issues, and felt it was too risky to do a second open heart.

"As she aged, developed as most people do, other health issues, that precluded her from becoming a good candidate for standard surgical procedure", said Dr. Mitchell O'Hara of Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute.

So they decided the best option for her was the TAVR procedure. TAVR stands for Transcutaneous Aortic Valve Replacement.

But Charlotte calls it the terrific aortic valve ride. "It was very quick, it was very painless and very successful", said Charlotte.

Doctor O'Hara said there are no large incisions and patients are typically in and out of the hospital within 48 to 72 hours.

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