LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Wearing the gown is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it can make you stronger, even if you're over 65. It happened to a Mena farmer and boy, are his donkeys and goats happy.
Lawrence Barsic and his wife walk the CHI St. Vincent hallways in triumph—it's where his life changed.
"Well initially what happened, I passed out at home," Barsic said. "At the time, I experienced a lot of shortness of breath, lack of energy, tiredness..."
A battery of tests in Hot Springs revealed some rough news: his aortic valve was calcified and needed to be seen in Little Rock.
This is where Doctor Aravind Rao enters the picture. "They sent him here for a minimally invasive procedure," Dr. Rao said.
Lawrence's heart was not producing the blood he needed, but Dr. Rao had the solution.
"It's called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement." Or TAVR for short.
It's been the first time since the procedure Lawrence Barsic has seen Dr. Rao this past summer.
"Happy to be alive and I'm happy to feel so much better than I have for the last two years," Barsic said with a smile.
The procedure has become so effective with valve replacement that it has become common. Dr. Rao said the staff does close to 200 a year.
As routine as it sounds— with any kind of surgery, anything can happen. During the procedure, Lawrence's heart stopped. Bad luck replaced almost instantly by the good.
"Dr. Rao and his team brought me back to life."
The most amazing part of this TAVR story is the recovery.
"That was on a Tuesday and I went home Wednesday afternoon. Stopped in Hot Springs and ate pizza at Rod's pizza cellar," Lawrence said.
Lawrence Barsic is now confident in his future. "Added 20 years to my life."
As for Dr. Rao, he feels the same sense of positivity.
"Yeah, this is definitely the best part of my practice. I'm glad I can do it."
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