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An annual trip to Michigan became a life-saving journey in September 2015 for 95-year-old Gurnith Crawford.
“Every year Mom visits us in Michigan, but this year, we thought it was the last visit,” says daughter Janette Parrish of Lincoln Park, Mich.
Mrs. Crawford was in heart failure. “She’d been slowing down for months and developed serious problems with fluid in her lungs. She had two open heart surgeries years before and with her age, we knew she could not have another surgery,” says Mrs. Parrish.
Mrs. Crawford spent a few days at Oakwood Hospital, where her cardiologist recognized she was a candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). That cardiologist personally called William W. O’Neill, M.D., medical director of the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Because of the severity of her condition, Dr. O’Neill and the Structural Heart Team expedited Mrs. Crawford’s care.
Just days after Mrs. Crawford was admitted, Dr. O’Neill and his team performed a valve-in-valve procedure using a catheter to thread a new valve through a blood vessel in her leg and up to her heart. The new valve was fitted precisely inside her failing aortic valve.
“She never had any pain, and was discharged in a few days,” says Mrs. Parrish. “In less than one month, she attended her grandson’s wedding.”
By October, Mrs. Crawford had returned to Arizona where she continues to live independently, drive, and play bingo and poker five nights a week. She completes 1,000 piece puzzles and walks the quarter mile to her neighborhood clubhouse.
“Mom would not be here if it were not for Dr. O’Neill and his team. It’s a real miracle,” says Mrs. Parrish.