Keith Jones considers himself one of the luckiest people in the world. His story began 15 years ago, as a Pasadena police officer, when the city of Pasadena provided the benefit of a full-body scan to police leadership.
The scan revealed Keith had an aortic aneurysm, which is a bulge in the main artery that carries blood from the heart throughout the body. If his aneurysm were to rupture, the result could be fatal.
Robbin Cohen, MD, performed the necessary and ultimately successful open-chest surgery at Huntington Hospital. Keith was monitored over the next 15 years because he would eventually need an aortic valve repair, too.
When that time came, Keith was referred to Gregory Giesler, MD, who told him about transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a less invasive way to repair the aortic valve — and one that does not require open-chest surgery. The innovative procedure is performed using a catheter inserted in the upper leg or chest artery to deliver a replacement valve to the heart.
Sue Duquette, nurse practitioner, coordinated the great care Keith received here — and made a lasting impression on him: He describes her as the “heart and soul of the TAVR program.” Dr. Giesler and Azhil (Alex) Durairaj, MD, medical director of cardiology, performed the TAVR procedure. “I only spent one night in the hospital and was released the next morning!” he says.
Keith is now living an active life again — including a recent outing on which he hiked and ran a total of six miles with his daughter. He and his wife recently picked up a new RV, and are looking forward to a fly-fishing trip soon. “I get the chance to spend time with my grandkids now that I’ve got my life back,” Keith says. “I’m very thankful to everyone at Huntington Hospital who made this possible.”