A Champaign County woman detailed her new lease on life during “An Evening Out for Heart Health” on Feb. 6 during a Mercy Health event in Springfield.
Urbana resident Elizabeth Bowshier, age 73, had planned on having surgery to replace her right knee last year, but when she arrived at her pre-operation appointment in 2019 to get cleared for the surgery, things did not go quite as planned.
Bowshier did not get cleared for her knee replacement. Her workup showed that her aortic valve was not opening well, impacting her heart function. In hindsight, she admitted she had been experiencing fatigue, as well as shortness of breath and swelling in her legs.
After learning of her condition, Bowshier met with cardiothoracic surgeon Soumya Neravetla, MD, who advised Bowshier that she was eligible for a minimally invasive procedure called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).
TAVR is typically used to treat aortic stenosis, a heart condition that occurs when the aortic valve becomes narrowed and does not open properly to allow blood to flow. The procedure is done by a team of cardiac specialists. They use catheters that are inserted through a small incision in the chest or, as was the case with Bowshier, the groin. Using the catheters, the team inserts a replacement valve inside the damaged valve. As they expand the new valve, it pushes the old valve out of place and takes over its function.
Bowshier said that Dr. Neravetla and cardiologist Faiq Akhter, MD, the two doctors who performed her procedure, “make a great team.”
Those two weren’t the only people Bowshier wanted to share her appreciation for, saying, “The team that worked with me, they were an awesome team, from the doctors and nurses right down to the guy that gave me the anesthetic, he was a hoot.”
Nurse Jeanne Peabody had a special impact, with Bowshier explaining that Peabody’s ever-present smile was always sure to brighten the room.
Bowshier’s surgery “…was like a miracle” and she was impressed with how easy such an important procedure could be, noting that the surgery was performed in the morning and she was home in time for dinner the next day.
The benefits to the TAVR procedure include not just shorter hospital stays but also faster recovery time and more energy to perform day-to-day activities. The additional energy has been noted by Bowshier as well and her family. Since her surgery, Bowshier says, “I run circles around my kids and they tell me I’ve got to slow down!”
Information from Mercy Health.