Baptist Health has the most comprehensive cardiac surgery program in the state, with the highest possible rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Our highly skilled physicians are passionate about seeking new and innovative treatments that result in the best outcome possible for each patient. Statewide, Baptist Health treats more heart patients than any other provider.

Hear from our patients and providers.


Patients and Providers

Tom's Story

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♪ [music]

♪ - [Joan]

We were assigned to the same homeroom, I think. Weren't we?

- [Tom]

Yes, 7201B Highland Junior High School. I remember the senior play. I became Dr. Bradley, and Joan was working with props.

- I brought one of the prop stand. I looked up to him and he said, "I know. I like you, too."

- And we had three children by the time we were 27. It was early April. Just like most people, I cut the grass. And after a couple of passes, I was totally out of breath.

So I came and sat down for a few minutes, got back up, and the same thing happened. I said, "This is totally unusual." I'm there in Louisville Cardiology. They give me the echocardiogram.

I had a valve that was almost open only to a pinhole. I was scheduled for May 1st a heart catheterization, and Dr. Christopher Semder did that. And he stood at the head of my bed afterwards.

He said, "Tom, you've got a golden heart," that's the word he used, "except your aortic valve is a disaster and it has to come out. It has to be replaced. We're going to see if you're ineligible for a TAVR surgery."

- [Linda]

TAVR is just the acronym for transcatheter aortic valve replacement. It allows the physicians to replace their native aortic valve with a tissue valve.

- And my thought was, well, yeah, we need to deal with this because I've got a wedding coming up here.

- We have nine grandchildren. We just have one boy.

- So it became critically important for me to know whether I was eligible for that procedure and, if so, that that procedure could be done as soon as possible.

- [Dr. Semder]

Tom is a gentleman who had other medical issues that made him an excellent candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement. He recovered very quickly and was out of the hospital within one to two days.

- With this wedding as the big goal for us, we were rallying. We were going to get him back on his feet and feeling good back to his family so he could enjoy that wedding.

- Linda was the face of it all. She has the skill to build trust quickly. She understands your needs. She's a real person that you're going to see and is going to stay with you from the very first time to the very last time.

And you're never going to be alone.

- I just appreciate so much feeling like a human being just not another widget. And this is my husband, and he is important to me.

- [Dr. Pagni]


his size of incision. He has to do the experience the patient had, the management of pain after surgery, what is the relationship the patients have with the ancillary service in terms of nursing staff, coordinators, social workers, and how at the end, when the patient go home, and after a month, they think, "Well, how was my experience there?"

- The best thing that gave me confidence was that there was a team of doctors.

- We're at the forefront of new technologies and new procedures. I think that this procedure especially really allows for a dramatic improvement in symptoms but also in what these patients are able to do at home.

- They have the staff there not only to do it medically but they have the staff there to make it feel really okay. You think of yourself, you know, where you were helpless just trying to get a breath, you know, after doing a mild task of some sort and then all of a sudden you're able to be well enough to not only enjoy this special event with them but to be there in person and be engaged and holding them, sharing their moment together, that was everything. The thing I like about Baptist is, "Mission Impossible. Here we go.

Let's make it happen." ♪ [music]

Stephanie's Story

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♪ [music]

♪ - [Stephanie]

I remember sitting up in bed and just grabbing him at 2 in the morning and saying I can't breathe, I can't breathe, and he took my pulse and he could tell, you know, that my rhythm was off. And he really encouraged me to call 911 and I didn't. If I had something like that again, I would go to the emergency room. I would call 911.

I was being stubborn. I would encourage anybody don't ever ignore your symptoms.

- [Matt]

Lots of people have mitral valve prolapse and they live with it their whole life. And she really had had no issues leading up to, you know, that one episode that started this whole journey. And so it really kind of came out of left field on honestly.

- He sprung into action and got me in to see Dr. Manchi.

- Stephanie was born with a mitral valve prolapse. Normally the valves close in a straight plane but her condition, the valve was bulging into the upper chamber. We see different variations in the mitral valve prolapse itself. Her case was a little more severe or serious case.

- He put a halter monitor on me. Dr. Manchi called me up on the phone and he said, "What are you doing right now?" And I said I'm getting ready to go to class, and he said, "No, you're not."

And he said, "You're in a 12-count of V-tach right now. How are you not on the floor?" And I just remembered how impactful that statement was. And I guess my body had just been compensating for so long, but it wouldn't do that forever.

He said, "I need you to come to the hospital, and, you know, we're going to run some tests." At that point, he had pinpointed that what he thought all along that it was truly my valve was failing. He told us that he wanted to schedule my surgery with Dr. Sebastian Pagni.

- She had a mitral valve with bileaflet prolapse. And the mitral valve has two leaflets, and both of them were widely open. And she had some fibrosis and scarring, suggesting that maybe she had some infection in the past. We were not sure, and we tried to fix it but it was too much of a try.

Eventually, we replaced the valve because it wasn't going to work. There was a residual leak, and, you know, it's not good to leave that in a patient. So we replaced her valve and she did very well.

- [Alex]

Honestly, it was like she couldn't even carry a gallon of milk.

- [Griffin]

You take things for granted, you know, and not everything is as bulletproof as it seems. ♪ [music]

♪ - We like to go to the Line and exercise, and we do like to go to our concerts. And she's herself again, which is great.

- We have multidisciplinary conferences and meetings every week, and I think usually that results in a better outcome at least in an agreement of what should be done or not.

- Baptist Health provides a very comprehensive care, and the cardiology care is complete here.

- Every aspect of my care from start to finish was amazing. I felt well-cared for. I felt like I was the number one person in the room from the time I left the hospital to my appointments. I mean everyone truly, genuinely cared about my well-being.

Coming to Baptist Health Floyd was life-saving.

- What gets my blood pumping? Her. ♪ [music]

Hear From Dr. Semder

Aortic valve replacement is a catheter-based, minimally invasive procedure that can help treat aortic valve stenosis. Learn more about this heart procedure from Baptist Health.

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♪ [music]

♪ - [Dr. Semder]

Aortic valve stenosis is a problem where the aortic valve doesn't open appropriately and effectively strangles the heart.

- [Dr. Pagni]

TAVR is a catheter-based procedure where we identify adequate access in the patient in the form of a peripheral artery or in the tip of the heart. We are able to place the valve, the [inaudible]

valve inside the area of the blockage, and then gradually expand the valve over a balloon and leave it in place.

- The benefits of the aortic valve replacement are that it's a life-changing and life-saving procedure. Patients are evaluated by our team. They tend to undergo transthoracic echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart, to evaluate their aortic valve. If they're felt to be appropriate for this procedure, they're then presented in a weekly conference where we have multiple members from multiple different specialties weighing in on their options.

We would choose a transcatheter aortic valve replacement for a patient due to advanced age, due to frailty, or a patient who we think would just do much better with a minimally-invasive procedure versus an open aortic valve replacement. And that is a procedure where they tend to recover extremely quickly and get out of the hospital, on average, here at Baptist Health Louisville, in less than two days. ♪ [music]

Hear from Dr. Pagni

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Minimally-invasive cardiac procedures are advanced techniques used to decrease the impact of open heart surgery. Aortic and mitral valve operations are the typical operations that they fit well for this small incision approach.

These techniques involved the spare of the full splitting of the breast bone by the alternative use, small incisions, or can be performed in the upper part of the sternal bone, can be done in the upper or lower right chest, or in the left chest, especially for coronary operations.

The lesson, basically, relates to all the components of an operation that can be minimized. And it's not only the size of incision, which usually is a minimally invasive or small incision, but also protocols to control the anesthesia early extubation blood transfusions and avoidance of them, pain control, decrease the rate of infections and the risk of compromising incision pain is is very low. With these operations within two weeks, patients can drive. And between two and four weeks, patients do a desk job. And, obviously, they are ambulatory the day after surgery.