Study: Less-invasive surgery may be option for heart valve replacement

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ROSLYN -

St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn has a new procedure that may offer some patients a less-invasive alternative to open-heart surgery.

David Gerassi, a 66-year-old from Oceanside, started having heart trouble about a year ago. St. Francis doctors diagnosed him with a failing heart valve. Typically, that would mean invasive open-heart surgery, but Gerassi opted to participate in a national study in which younger people received a new heart valve through a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. That invovles a new valve implanted through a blood vessel in the thigh. And for Gerassi, it worked.

"I felt 100 percent better," Gerassi says. "Right there and then, the same day."

Doctors say Gerassi's results helped show that younger adults with low surgery risk were getting positive results with TAVR when it was typically only recommended for higher-risk patients.

Since Doctors say the TAVR procedure could be used by younger patients, the issue of how long the new heart valves will last is a question that they say is being researched right now.

Gerassi is hoping for a positive outcome in the long run. And just two months post-surgery, he already has plans like biking during the summer.

St. Francis says it's one of the leading TAVR hospitals in the country. Last year, the hospital performed nearly 500 of the operations.

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