Gates Vascular doctors mark surgery milestone

May 26, 2015

Doctors on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus are marking a milestone.

Physicians at the Gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo recently performed their 200th transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery. It's a procedure they've been performing since 2012.

Olivia Beach, center, speaks at the Gates Vascular Institute. From left to right, Dr. William Morris and Dr. Vijay Iyer listen to their patient.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

"Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is a therapeutic option for patients who have a severely narrow aortic valve and are high risk for open-heart surgery," said Dr. Vijay Iyer at the Gates Vascular Institute. "In the past these patients needed to go outside of the area for other therapeutic options, and many of them had no therapeutic options."

The patient, 82-year-old Olivia Beach, explained that she's had heart issues since a childhood illness but over the past few months has especially felt uncomfortable.

"I would rise in the morning and I would brush my teeth and then rest, because the pain in my chest would start," Beach said. "Out of breath all the time. Then slowly but surely between rest, I would be able to make my bed and prepare my breakfast. But my days were not good."

"With the advent of transcatheter aortic valve replacement, we can now replace these valves, minimally invasive from the groin and some other approaches," said Dr. Iyer. "Now, over the last six months, we've been doing these procedures under conscious sedation, meaning patients not having general anethesia either."

Beach says she looks forward to not suffering the daily pains and shortness of breath she has endured since last Christmas and, with the help of a home health aide, is eager to go shopping.