Doctors in the Unit for Interventional Cardiology at Rambam Health Care Campus recently broke a record they set several months ago by replacing a heart valve for a 97-year-old Haifa resident. The previous record was a similar operation performed successfully on a 95-year-old patient.
Moshe Almani, an active, articulate man, felt ill and was hospitalized in one of Rambam’s Departments of Internal Medicine due to chest pain and difficulty breathing during light exertion. He underwent a series of tests, and was found to be suffering from severe narrowing of the aortic valve, located between the left ventricle and the aorta. A team of doctors led by Dr. Arthur Kerner, Director of the Unit of Interventional Cardiology, and Dr. Amir Solomonica, a senior physician in the Unit of Interventional Cardiology, held a series of consultations during which it was decided that the best solution was to replace his aortic valve via heart catheterization.
The catheterization procedure—which lasted for around 50 minutes—was successful, and Moshe experienced no complications. He remained in the intensive care unit over the weekend to make sure he was feeling well and that his condition was continuing to improve.
“Replacing a heart valve in a man approaching one hundred years of age is a complex operation,” notes Dr. Kerner. “The body tissues ‘know’ they are old, so any invasive operation increases the surgical risks involved.”
Says Dr. Solomonica, “When it comes to 97-year-olds, we have reservations when it comes to performing even minimally invasive procedures like this one. We try to determine wheter it is necessary and weigh the benefit against the risks. However, when we saw the condition of Mr. Almani’s valve and took into consideration the facts, including his quite active lifestyle, we decided to go ahead with the catheterization, and can now share that his condition has markedly improved.”