When lifelong trekker and adventurer Dorismae Weber learned her aortic valve was shutting down, she was afraid she was losing something she loved most: her daily walks. But following a trans catheter aortic valve implantation, Weber reclaimed her walking shoes — and her life. This is her story.
An avid walker and traveler, Dorismae Weber’s life changed dramatically when she was exploring Mongolia and began having trouble breathing. Weber, 84, learned her aortic valve was shutting down.
“It’s scary when you lose what you’ve always done,” Weber says. “I’ve walked all my life, and it’s always been the place I’ve gone to for comfort, for solving problems, for just enjoying. But all of a sudden, I couldn’t do this anymore.”
Weber was not a candidate for traditional open heart surgery because she had heart surgery in the past. Then Weber learned about about trans catheter aortic valve implantation, also known as TAVR. She went to see Renown cardiologist Jake Ichino, MD, who put her through a battery of tests before performing the procedure.
“Unlike the standard traditional open heart surgery, TAVR is a less invasive approach,” Dr. Ichino says. “We traditionally go up the artery of the leg with a catheter tube device and then we implant a valve without opening the chest.”
After the TAVR procedure, Weber was once again able to complete her daily five-mile hikes.
“When I woke up, all I can tell you is that I looked around and I thought, ‘I have a whole new life ahead of me — when I was told there was very little left,'” Weber says.
She has also planned a trek just below the arctic circle with the environmental group Earthwatch.
“I’m here because I had that procedure,” Weber says. “I’m here because they offered that procedure. And I’m very grateful for it, because I wouldn’t be here without it.”