Heartbeat 6-22-2014: James Braxton Helped by Medical Marvel

Published 06/23 2014 12:10AM

Updated 06/23 2014 12:54AM

LUBBOCK, TX -- A few weeks before surgery James Braxton, 95, could not play the saxophone because he simply didn’t have enough breath. One of his heart valves was not opening properly. Doctors thought he might be a candidate for TAVR or transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Dr. Marc Levine said, “We can actually replace the valve without doing major surgery.”

The procedure is possible because of a new multimillion dollar operating room at Covenant Medical Center that incorporates the equipment of both surgery and high-tech radiology into one.

Dr. William Springer said, “Up until now we really haven’t had a therapy for those who were too weak for an open-heart surgery but still were functioning human beings. Now we do.”

“Either through small incisions in the groin or small incisions in the chest we are now able to replace aortic vales that normally would require a much more detailed operation,” Springer said.

Braxon had been a music teacher and still enjoys playing. One of his doctors told him to do something – “doctor’s orders” so to speak.

“A couple weeks later he sent for me. He said, ‘Bring your horn with you,’” Braxton said.

Covenant Health System said it is the only hospital with the TAVR technology between Dallas and Albuquerque.

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