Patient Advocacy: Darian Rises Above Aortic Stenosis & Medical Disparity Thanks to Medtronic TAVR

Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate & Author

Medical Expert: Mustafa Ahmed, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, UAB Medicine

Published: October 19, 2022; This post is sponsored by Medtronic

Aortic stenosis is a life-threatening disease that is under-diagnosed and under-treated. In fact, the survival rate is just 50% at two years for patients diagnosed with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis. To make matters worse, only 9% of patients that receive non-invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) are minorities according to this research.

How is Medtronic, a leading manufacturer of TAVR devices, taking steps to treat more aortic stenosis patients like Mrs. Darian Tymes? Watch this video to find out.



Key Learnings from Darian’s TAVR Success Story

Here are important insights from Darian’s journey to a healthy heart:

  • United States studies show that black patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis are not treated at the same rate as white patients undergoing TAVR.
  • Mrs. Darian Tymes is an active and independent 80-year-old aortic stenosis patient who became extremely symptomatic with shortness of breath and fatigue. Darian stated, “If I walked from here to the other side of the room, I’d get tired. I’d get out of breath.”
  • To explore treatment options, Darian was referred to Dr. Mustafa Ahmed, an interventional cardiologist at UAB Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama, who specializes in TAVR.


Dr. Mustafa AhmedDr. Mustafa Ahmed


  • Darian previously had open-chest, surgical aortic valve replacement. She did not want to go through another open-heart surgery.
  • Dr. Ahmed explained the benefits of the TAVR procedure to Darian. “There is no long recovery period,” stated Dr. Ahmed. “We expect people to have the procedure. Go home. And, get on with their lives very quickly.”
  • The Medtronic Evolut TAVR was used by Dr. Ahmed given its optimized hemodynamics (blood flow), its safety, and its ability to be positioned very accurately. Dr. Ahmed stated, “The Evolut system, which we used in Mrs. Tymes, allowed us to do a complex valve-in-valve procedure with the most minimal of fuss in a very controlled environment.”


Medtronic Evolut TAVR


  • Darian no longer experiences symptoms and has a restored quality-of-life. “I can walk. I can dance. I can cook, drive basically do anything I want to do,” Darian stated.
  • Only 9% of aortic stenosis patients that get TAVR are minorities. (Alkhouli, JACC Intv. 5/2019)
  • Medtronic is sparking change by leading healthcare inequity initiatives by bringing physicians and local leaders together in working groups – across communities – to treat more aortic stenosis patients.


Many Thanks to Darian, Dr. Ahmed and Medtronic!

Many thanks to Darian and Dr. Ahmed for sharing their wonderful story with our community!

A special thanks goes out to Medtronic for their commitment to removing barriers that prevent patients from life-saving procedures for aortic stenosis. We are so appreciative of Medtronic’s dedication to advancing valvular therapy and Medtronic’s initiatives to expand treatment for minorities.

To learn more, please visit

Keep on tickin’ Darian!

P.S. For the deaf and hard of hearing members of our community, I have provided a written transcript of Darian’s TAVR success story below.

– Racial Disparities in the Utilization and Outcomes of TAVR: TVT Registry Report, National Library of Medicine, 2019
– Aortic Stenosis: Then & Now, American Heart Association Journals, 2018
– Building and Educating a Heart Valve Disease Network Prepared to Engage in Research, PCORI, 2019

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Video Transcript:

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed: When she came into the office first, she was in trouble. And you knew she was in trouble because here you’ve got someone that’s extraordinarily independent, very active, looking forward to enjoying life with a huge and supportive family, and now her quality of life had gone.

Darian Tymes: My name is Darian Tymes, and I’m 80 years old.

Gwendlyon (Daughter): She’s a go-getter. She’s always been going, going.

Darian Tymes: I find somewhere to go, something to do every day. Go wherever I want to go and do whatever I wanted to do.

Gwendlyon (Daughter): So when she started complaining that she was slow of breath, we started paying more attention to her.

Darian Tymes: If I walked from here to the other room, I’d get tired, I’d get out breath. I had to stop and rest in between.

Gwendlyon (Daughter): She had been going all along to see a cardiologist and finally her doctor said, “Why don’t you see this other doctor?” So that was how she met Dr. Ahmed, through her regular doctor in Birmingham.

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed: By the time she got over to ours, she was struggling to get through a normal day.

Jacqueline (Daughter): She had had open heart surgery before and it took such a toll on her body. She did not wanna go through the open heart process again.

Darian Tymes: I asked him, I said, “Well, have they gotta cut my chest open again?” He said, “No.” He says, “It’s a simple, little procedure.” And after he said that and told me how they was gonna do it, I said, “Okay, I’m ready.”

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed: When you tell someone we’re gonna replace your valve, what they think is you’re going to go into a hospital. You’re going to be in an operating room for several hours. There are many people who don’t want to sign up for that. Then you tell people about TAVR. There is no long recovery period. We expect people to have the procedure, go home and get on with their lives very quickly.

Darian Tymes: He walked me through the procedure. He told me what to expect and what not to expect.

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed: She understood the risks, the benefits, the approach, asked very good questions and immediately wanted to move forward.

Darian Tymes: When we went to the hospital for the procedure, I talked to my two daughters that went with me and we prayed and we talked about it. So when the nurse come got me, I gave ’em thumbs up and said, “I’ll see when I get back.”

Jacqueline (Daughter): We were naturally concerned, but we also felt secure in what was going to happen because it had been explained so thoroughly.

Darian Tymes: I was not nervous. I was not scared. I was completely relaxed.

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed: When we talked to Mrs. Tymes about which valve to use and what we ended up using, we want something where the blood flow’s optimized, where the valve can be the largest it can be, where we feel it’s gonna be a long and durable result, where this can be put in safely, where we don’t have to stress the heart too much. In that process, it can be done reproducibly. It can be positioned very accurately. All that kind of stuff was done in the Evolut™ system, which we used in Mrs. Tymes. This allowed us to do a complex valve-in-valve procedure with the most minimal of fuss in a very controlled environment.

Jacqueline (Daughter): Once he finished with the TAVR, I mean, it was wonderful. Since that time, every day has gotten better and better. And, fortunately, she’s better, but now we can’t keep up with her sometimes.

Darian Tymes: I can walk, I can dance. I can cook, drive, basically do anything I want to do.

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed: Now, it’s amazing. You get to see that wonderful person come in, their quality of life restored, they’re back to their normal life.

Gwendlyon (Daughter): She just all excited. Like a young child, almost all over again. She was just so excited. The energy level was back. She can go where she wanted to go. We didn’t have to go with her. We didn’t have to assist her with anything. So she has a quality of life that she’s used to. It’s just a relief off all of us now.

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed: As important as it is to create new valve technologies and have valves that last longer and valves that are more minimally invasive, those things are not very helpful if we’re not providing access to everyone.

Darian Tymes: I’m just grateful that I’ve got 99% of my health and my strength back from the procedure I had to do what I want to do. I’m independent. I don’t expect my kids to live with me and take care of me. I do it all myself, and love it.

Jacqueline (Daughter): So the TAVR was an excellent idea and it has worked perfectly. She hasn’t had any complaints. She had no side effects. So we were just shouting the praises of Dr. Ahmed and his team after that TAVR procedure.

Gwendlyon (Daughter): TAVR is our new best friend. She’s back to normal. Yeah, she’s back to normal, yay!

Darian Tymes: I’m really looking forward to getting up, getting on me a plane or car or bus or train and just go, go, go. At 80 years old, I think I’m entitled to enjoy the rest of my life. I’ve worked hard all of my younger days. I raised my five children, six of my grandchildren as my own. And I feel like I’m entitled to do whatever I wanna do. Live life to the fullest every single day. That’s what I do.