Meet Patti Taylor

TAVR “is an Absolute Miracle”

Patti Taylor had a long history of cancer throughout her life — non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 10, thyroid cancer at age 21, and in 2005, a bone sarcoma from post-radiation damage.

So when she began to experience shortness of breath about two years ago, she ended up in the ICU for a month and a half. After she went home, her daughter, Alisha, an ER nurse, was caring for her 24 hours a day — yet she was still struggling.

“Her pH was 7.25, and I’d never seen anyone with those numbers,” says Alisha. Open heart surgery wasn’t an option, since Patti had what’s termed a ‘hostile chest’ — due to extensive radiation, “her pericardium is not able to expand; it’s all kind of fused together,” said Alisha.

Since Alisha worked at the University of Minnesota, she connected with heart surgeon Kenneth Liao. M.D., and interventional cardiologists Robert Wilson, M.D., and Ganesh Ravreendran, M.D., to determine the best way to approach her mother’s case.

Their options: (1) open heart surgery, which they knew Patti wouldn’t survive; or (2) the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)* procedure, common in Europe.

hybrid operating room

Patti was the sixth patient at the University to have the TAVI procedure. “It worked out phenomenally,” Alisha said. “She was out of the hospital in a week and a half.”

Just as impressive was how accessible the team was to Patti’s family.

doctors performing TAVR procedure“All three doctors were there at every appointment,” said Alisha. “They had a personal, vested interest. They took their time and walked our family through the whole procedure, understanding it was a family decision.”

“They worked so hard to get insurance to approve the procedure. They just went above and beyond.”

Today, Patti is on diuretics and cardiac medication and will get an echocardiogram in about a year.

“At first, I just wanted to live long enough to see my daughter’s wedding day,” says Patti. “Now I’m strong enough to babysit my granddaughter.

“It’s an absolute miracle. They saved my life.”

* The TAVR procedure was previously performed under the name Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI).