TAVR Patient Story | Whittier, CA | PIH Health

Still Dancing After 63 Years

Antero Palacios Receives First TAVR Procedure at PIH Health Whittier Hospital

Photo of patient Antero Palacios dancing with his wifeAdvanced age is no reason to slow down—just ask Antero Palacios. At 83 years old, this Whittier resident is as active as ever. He still golfs twice a week, mows his own lawn, washes his own car, and takes his wife Carol dancing at the Arcadia Elks Club every chance he gets.

Thanks to cardiac care at PIH Health, Antero can stay as active as he likes. In November 2019, Antero became the first patient to have a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure performed at PIH Health Whittier Hospital. Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles joined the PIH Health family in December of 2019, adding expertise in several areas that enabled us to enhance the care we provide to our patients. PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital has long been a regional leader in cardiac services, offering such advanced care as TAVR. Combining expertise and resources among our hospitals also means sharing experience and knowledge between highly trained surgeons like Steven Burstein MD, an interventional cardiologist and other physicians at PIH Health.

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly (called aortic valve stenosis). During the procedure, doctors insert a catheter in the leg or chest and guide it to the heart. A replacement valve is inserted through the catheter, and a balloon is expanded to press the valve into place.

“TAVR is a great option for people who are at higher risk of complications from surgical aortic valve replacement or who can’t undergo open-heart surgery,” said Dr. Burstein. “Because the procedure is minimally invasive, recovery time is greatly reduced compared to open heart surgery.”

Antero’s surgery was performed by Sudhaker Nayak MD, who trained with Dr. Burstein to learn the TAVR procedure. He was assisted by Dr. Burstein and Eduardo Tovar MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at PIH Health Whittier Hospital. The outcome was a resounding success.

“I felt absolutely great,” said Antero. “I had no pain, and I was up and walking the same day. Recovery was very easy, and all the doctors and nurses were fantastic. I followed my doctor’s orders and took it easy for one month. But a few weeks later, Carol and I were back at the Elks Club. We’ve been dancing together for 63 years. We’re not the best dancers, but we absolutely love it. Whatever the style—rock-n-roll, salsa, Mexican Polka or Cha Cha—we dance for hours and hope to continue dancing together for years to come.”

To learn more about Cardiac Care at PIH Health, visit PIHHealth.org/Heart.