Barbara Jondahl: Aortic Valve Replacement

Over the summer of 2021, Barbara Jondahl was thrilled to once again be able to do all the outdoor activities that she cherishes. She swam in a crystal-clear lake in her favorite place — northern Wisconsin — hiked in the woods, listened to the loons calling, and went fishing with her grandchildren. Barbara was able to do the activities that she said feed her soul after receiving a new aortic valve in March of 2021.

“I love the outdoors; each day is a gift,” said Barbara. “I’m truly grateful for modern science — the procedure is really a miracle in and of itself. It’s not just that Dr. Garcia did it, but it’s all his years of study, training and expertise that gave me these gifts at age 75.”

Barbara’s journey to a new heart valve began when her primary care provider suggested she had a heart murmur and referred her to the Minneapolis Heart Institute® for follow-up care. An echocardiogram showed she had moderate aortic stenosis and the recommendation was to monitor it. Six months later, another echocardiogram showed the stenosis had progressed and was now severe. Barbara had noticed that she was short of breath (a common symptom of valve disease) and couldn’t hike like she used to.

 

After meeting with Dr. Santiago Garcia, an interventional cardiologist and researcher in the Valve Science Center at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF), Dr. Garcia and his team felt she would be a good candidate for a transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Through their work in MHIF’s Valve Science Center, Dr. Garcia and other researchers are industry leaders in minimally invasive, non-surgical valve repair and replacement. After the minimally invasive procedure, Barbara went home the following day and couldn’t be happier.

“It was wonderful; I can’t believe it,” said Barbara. “I had no pain and it was by far easier than what I had imagined. I know people who have had less significant health procedures, but dealt with more pain and recovery. I am better than just fine … I am better than I was two years ago. It was all such a positive experience.”

 Any Gift, Big or Small, has a Significant Impact on People’s Lives