Patient Update: After Four Emergency Room Visits, Nina Finally Gets A TAVR!

Nina Bamford was taken to the emergency room four times due to symptoms including shortness of breath. Nina was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. Nina was told that open heart surgery was “too risky” for her.

At 81 years old, Nina wanted to live.

This is her story…

Thanks to Nina for sharing her inspirational story with us. And, a special thanks to Dr. Marc Gerdish and the Alliance for Aging for supporting the filming of this educational patient success story about TAVR.

Keep on tickin!

P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript of the video below.

Nina Bamford:  I think I knew that I had something wrong, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. My blood pressure was going up, and got very dizzy to the point that I couldn’t even walk. I had to sit down.

Dr. Marc Gerdisch: As people grow old, the most common things to change are number one, actually for the aortic valve to stiffen. Nina Bamford had a critically stenosed, or blocked aortic valve, and was in advanced heart failure from it. She could do very little. Toward this point in her life while she was older there was other things happening that made her very high risk just to have a standard aortic valve replacement.

Nina Bamford:  I was scared. I was really scared, because I didn’t know whether they were going to open up my chest and put this new valve in. I didn’t know what I was going to be after the valve.

Dr. Marc Gerdisch:    You could really kind of see it in her eyes that she felt like she was winding down, and that she wasn’t going to be able to live her life anymore.

Nina Bamford:   Someone my age having some heart surgery – because all the time in my mind, “They’re going to cut me open.” This is what really scared me.

Dr. Marc Gerdisch: We spent some time together kind of understanding what she expected out of life, and then we went after it. Fortunately, for Nina we were able to perform a transcatheter aortic valve replacement where we advance the valve from the leg artery, up into the heart, and into the aortic valve. Then, we replaced her aortic valve without stopping it and without opening her chest. The advantage for a senior receiving a transcatheter aortic valve replacement really has to do with their risk stratification.

When they’re very high risk for standard surgery, then this offers them something that we don’t have to have the recovery for, and that we don’t have to have the same types of risks for. It’s kind of a different selection. It’s an opportunity to avoid being on the heart-lung machine. It’s an opportunity to avoid perhaps a little bit bigger incision. Those things can have consequences for someone who’s particularly frail.

Nina Bamford:   It’s just wonderful not to have it any longer, and not to have a feeling of short breath. I’m glad I had it done. I really am. You have a lot more strength than you did before, but now I can walk and feel so much better. It amazed me. It really amazed me that something like that can make you feel so much better. That old valve must have been really something. It was a bad valve.

Dr. Marc Gerdisch: Nina, after surgery became a new person again, really. As usual, when we do TAVR for an older person with really advanced disease, it takes a little while for it to actually catch up with them, and then they feel really well. That’s what’s happened with Mrs. Bamford.

Nina Bamford:  I don’t like to advise anybody to do something that I was afraid to have done, but if that would be the case I would say, “Please, whatever you do, have it done, because it will probably be the best thing that ever happens to you.

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

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