COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - February is Heart Health month and doctors at Prisma Health are celebrating the success of a new tool to treat aortic valve disease. A cardiothoracic surgeon at the hospital is the first in the state to do it and he’s calling this device “a game changer.”
For a guy like Hal Hutto, failure is not an option.
"We were trying to ride route 66 about three years ago,” Hutto said. “Made it from here to Chicago and back down to Oklahoma and I was having a-fib every 12 hours so we had to cancel the trip and come back."
A-fib: the shorthand for “atrial fibrillation.” It essentially means irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and it can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. Doctors say at least 2.7 million Americans are living with it.
And in this case, the guy known to friends for his cross-country trips on his Harley was parking the bike more often than not. And he’s now a regular on the hand bike in cardiac rehab at Prisma Health, after years of living with mitral valve disease and aortic stenosis. Doctors told him it was time for surgery.
"I said if I don’t what will happen he said you’ll have heart failure,” Hutto said.
But just in time, there was a new option for Hutto for his aortic valve repair.
“Valve repair has been something we have done for a long time for mitral valve disease,” said Dr. James Burke, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Prisma Health. “But it hasn’t been an option for aortic valve disease. And now we have a new device allows us to repair leaky aortic valves.”
It’s called “The Haart 300.”
“The device is a ring that goes underneath the aortic valve,” Dr. Burke said. “And has some posts that allow you to reconfigure the shape of the aortic valve so you can bring the leaflets back together.”
When he had his procedure in October, Hutto was the first of three patients to have it done in South Carolina. All three surgeries have been successful.
"It is a pretty big game changer for patients with this disease process,” said Dr. Burke.
Less down time, so Hutto can get off the hand bike and back on the road.
"Hopefully I’ll get everything squared away we can go back to Oklahoma and finish that,” Hutto said.
Hutto had to do 36 sessions of cardiac rehab after his surgery.
He just finished that last week.
He hopes to be back on his Harley in no time.