Minimally invasive heart surgery

But do not just take out word for it...

CATHERINE SIMS, 62, OF MYRTLE BEACH, IS LIVING PROOF THAT THE EXPERTISE AVAILABLE AT GRAND STRAND REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

Back in September, she was having trouble breathing and suffered from dizziness. Seven weeks after having surgery to replace her aortic valve, she says she feels good and is back to walking regularly and looks forward to tasks like mowing the lawn.

But she recalls that initial conversation with her doctor at Grand Strand Regional, Vu T. Hoang, MD, and what he said about her need for minimally invasive valve replacement: “He said, ‘If you were my mother, I’d do this next week.’”

“I was really scared before seeing Dr. Hoang,” she continues, “but he explained very well what was going on”—from her narrowed aortic valve to the congenital heart defect that left her valve with two flaps instead of three (leaving her heart to work harder at pumping blood).

Sims took his advice. By Wednesday of the following week, she was undergoing surgery to replace the defective valve. By Saturday, she was home. Short hospital stays are just one of the many benefits of minimally invasive surgery, which range from less pain and blood loss during surgery to fewer complications and quicker recovery times.

Besides regular trips to cardiac rehab and working to increase her stamina, the only other reminder of Sims’ heart ailment is a small scar, just 3 to 4 inches long, on her chest—another minimally invasive surgery benefit. “It’s a beautiful scar,” she says.