Harold Smith



For the last several years, Harold Smith has had several serious medical conditions, including a heart attack, colon cancer and a fracture in his back, as a result of a fall. Additionally, he noticed that he was becoming increasingly short of breath and was having difficulty walking more than just a short distance. During pre-operative testing for upcoming back surgery, it was found that he had severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve becomes very calcified and narrowed and severely limits the amount of blood flowing out of the heart. Left untreated, aortic stenosis can be a fatal disease.

However, at 89 years old and given the amount of serious health issues that he had, Harold was at high risk for having traditional valve replacement surgery. That's when he learned the about a procedure called TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement). Unlike traditional valve replacement surgery in which a cut is made through the chest bone, TAVR is a catheter-based surgical option. Most often the TAVR procedure is performed through a large artery in the upper leg, much like a heart catheterization. Ocala Health's TAVR team, which combines the expertise of cardiothoracic surgery and interventional cardiology collaborating together, was able to utilize this latest technology and replace Harold's diseased heart valve. After the procedure and a very short hospital stay, Harold was able to return to his home.

Since his surgery, Harold's quality of life has improved greatly. He is walking 2500 steps a day and is "pretty healthy". Harold says his experience with the staff at Ocala Health was "wonderful and he couldn't ask for anything better. They are right on the job, all the time, and took really good care of me."