Octogenarian sisters get an innovative heart treatment within two weeks of each other at Saint Luke’s
Saint Luke’s dedication to research means more patients have alternatives to care—like Hilda Lankard and Agnes Lickteig.
The two sisters had constricted arteries, called aortic stenosis. It never slowed down either of them until they neared their 80s. Agnes noticed she felt short of breath more often. Hilda could no longer keep up with her grandkids.
In early 2016, both received startling news within weeks of each other: they had outlived their heart valves and needed surgery to repair them.
Fortunately, the experts at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute also had good news. Hilda and Agnes were candidates for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR.
Saint Luke’s has been at the forefront of TAVR research and was the first in the region to offer this minimally invasive procedure, said David J. Cohen, MD, MSc, director of cardiovascular research at the Heart Institute.
“For some patients, traditional open-heart surgery is risky,” he said. “TAVR is simpler, safer, and still effective.”
It also comes with a faster recovery time—a bonus for eighty-two-year-old Hilda and her eighty-year-old baby sister, Agnes.
“I thought, ‘I’ve got things to do,’” Hilda said. “I need to stick around!”
Agnes was up and walking around a day after her May 12 procedure. Less than two weeks later, it was Hilda’s turn.
Aortic stenosis is a growing problem. “We have an aging population who are outliving their heart valves,” noted Dr. Cohen. “Saint Luke’s can offer safe, effective alternatives with the best possible outcomes for more patients.”
Saint Luke’s is the most experienced heart center for transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the entire Great Plains region. Saint Luke’s goes beyond the most advanced surgical treatments like TAVR. It also offers a wide range of heart health services from disease prevention to women’s heart care to precision diagnostics.
Find out why U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Saint Luke’s among the top 20 cardiology and heart surgery programs in the nation at saintlukeskc.org/inforequest.