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Local 92-Year-Old Undergoes New Life-Lengthening Heart Procedure

Florida Hospital cardiac team is first to use breakthrough device in the Orlando area

ORLANDO, Fla., March 8, 2012 – Duyane Hoffman, 92, made the decision to have a newly FDA-approved device placed inside his heart to keep his golden years active ones.
“I used to do 45 minutes of cardiac rehab on the treadmill,” said Hoffman.  “Before this procedure I could barely do 10 minutes.”

But it’s not only the time on the treadmill that motivated him to replace his calcified heart valve; it was to spend more time with his wife of 27 years, Nancy, five daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  Both Duyane and Nancy met and married as widows and developed a love for cultivating orchids in their backyard greenhouse.

“I have a lot to live for,” said Hoffman.  “If you sit around in a rocker in your old age, you won’t last very long.”

A calcified heart valve blocked Hoffman’s dream of an active lifestyle.  At 92 years of age, he was not a candidate for a traditional heart valve replacement surgery.  But Hoffman’s longing for longevity is part of the reason why the multi-disciplinary team from Florida Hospital believed Hoffman would be a good candidate for the newly FDA-approved valve replacement procedure called TAVR.  The buzz surrounding the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), manufactured by Edwards Lifesciences, allows a multi-disciplinary cardiac team of doctors to replace a heart valve by inserting it through a catheter into the heart.  Traditionally, in the United States, a heart valve replacement would require an open incision into the chest to repair or replace the malfunctioning valve.  But now, patients who are too ill for surgery may be able to have their heart valve replaced with this transcatheter procedure.

“The team is thrilled with how well Mr. Hoffman is doing.  This clearly has the potential to be a major development in how cardiac valve surgery is performed,” said Dr. Kevin Accola, medical director of valve surgery, Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute at Florida Hospital Orlando.  “The TAVR device could help many patients who are too ill or are at high risk to undergo more traditional heart valve surgery.  There are risks to this procedure and for now the FDA has approved this device only for patients for whom traditional cardiac surgery is not an option.”

Over the past year, Florida Hospital Orlando has developed a multi-disciplinary team of four physicians to learn about and eventually implement the TAVR technology in Central Florida. The physician members of the TAVR team include Dr. Kevin Accola, Dr. Andrew Taussig, Dr. Jorge Suarez-Cavelier, and Dr. Jose Arias.  In total, it took 20 clinical professionals from the operating room, anesthesia and the catheterization lab working collaboratively to insert the TAVR device. 

“The Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute is dedicated to remaining in the forefront of new technology and bringing TAVR to the Orlando community is part of that commitment,” said Dr. Andrew Taussig, medical director, Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute.  “People like Mr. Hoffman refuse to be limited by their age and are committed to a high quality of life for their entire life.  I am pleased that we have this technology to help him meet that goal.”