Heart Warrior Spotlight: Sonny Gets Outpatient Valve Replacement Reoperation!
Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Page last updated: October 14, 2021
It’s one thing to be told you need heart valve surgery.
It’s another thing to be told you need a second heart surgery because your tissue valve replacement is failing ahead of schedule.
That is the exact situation that Sonny Abassi, an attorney from Vienna, Virginia, recently experienced. According to his cardiologist… Sonny’s aortic valve replacement, which was surgically implanted six years ago, was unfortunately calcified. To mitigate the dangerous risks of aortic stenosis, Sonny needed a reoperation.
Sonny Abassi (Surgical & Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Patient)
Beyond the frustration.. Beyond the concern… Beyond the fear… Sonny did not waiver in his personal resolve to get a transcatheter aortic valve-in-valve operation performed at the Cleveland Clinic.
Ultimately… It was Sonny’s resolve that generated the ear-to-ear smile you see on his face after his aortic valve re-operation on September 23, 2021. Fyi, the picture above was taken just a few hours after Sonny’s new aortic valve was implanted inside his failing valve without an incision to his chest or ribs.
Sonny’s Patient Insights Right After TAVR
While Sonny and I have talked several times over the years, we engaged in a rapid-fire email exchange following his TAVR procedure. Here are several insights that Sonny shared with me:
- Sonny did not go under general anesthesia during his TAVR valve-in-valve. Instead, Sonny received twilight anesthesia in which he was partially awake throughout the procedure.
- Amazingly… This was an outpatient procedure. The TAVR procedure started at 7am EST. Sonny was in the recovery room at 9am EST. At 3:55pm EST, Sonny was discharged from the Cleveland Clinic.
- The TAVR procedure was performed by Dr. Rishi Puri, interventional cardiologist.
- Compared to his previous surgical aortic valve replacement, Sonny stated, “It was a blessing not being in intensive care – like I was after SVAR. I was in the hospital approximately nine days after SAVR versus 9 hours today. I am now sitting comfortably in my lobby. I feel very normal. Abs relaxed. Cleveland Clinic was amazing both times as would be expected.”
- There were several reasons that Sonny choose a TAVR instead of a SAVR reoperation. Sonny shared, “I didn’t want to be fully out in anesthesia nor did I want my sternum broken again. Didn’t want to be out for two months again. I know TAVR is temporary but I wasn’t ready for another open heart. So, to me this is a bridge.”
- As for Sonny’s advice for patients, he states, “I would investigate both options if I am a patient and have not had a surgery. I didn’t have the TAVR option when I had my SAVR. So, people are luckier now. There are definitely drawbacks and advantages for either TAVR or SAVR.”
Sonny Goes Viral on Facebook
Many thanks to all the wonderful people at our Facebook page for your support of Sonny!!!
In total, Sonny’s Facebook post received 6,500+ engagements, 4,100+ reactions, 276 comments and 194 shares. Amazing!!!
A week after his TAVR, I sent Sonny an email to check in on him. The good news is that Sonny is feeling very well after his TAVR valve-in-valve reoperation. Sonny shared, “I’m feeling pretty good. Thanks!”
Keep on tickin’ Sonny!