Edward Jones received his first heart valve surgery

March 31, 2014
When 81 year old Edward Jones received his first heart valve surgery he had only one option - traditional open-heart surgery. The scar was very big, and I was down for six weeks," says Jones. Thirteen years later, Jones needed another heart valve repair. This time doctors presented Jones with a more advanced option - minimally invasive heart valve surgery. With this new surgical technique doctors told Jones he could recover in about two weeks. The busy, self-employed and highly active Sierra Madre resident jumped at the chance to recover more quickly. The new, minimally invasive valve surgery allows surgeons to operate through a small opening in the chest wall between the ribs. It involves many of the same steps as open heart surgery but eliminates one of the most painful steps - the need to open the chest through a 12- to 15-inch incision in the breastbone. Instead, the cardiac surgeon makes one small incision approximately 4 inches in length above or below the right breast through which the valve surgery is performed. Jones wasn't the only heart patient interested in less pain and a speedy recovery. "I was familiar with the more common procedure, but I thought this was probably a better way to go," says 56-year old Peter Hargreaves of Burbank, the first to receive minimally invasive heart valve repair at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center (PSJMC). He was back on his feet just a few days after surgery. "I had good mobility. I was amazed". "It really is the wave of the future in cardiac surgery," says Eli R. Capouya, M.D., a cardiac surgeon affiliated with Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. "Most of our patients have been discharged from the hospital within two to five days. Instead of depending on others to help them with daily hygiene and household chores, they're able to resume their normal activities within a couple of weeks. There's also less scarring and pain and reduced risk of infection." It was that information that convinced Hargreaves. He proudly boasts that at his one-week follow up visit he was able to grab his t-shirt at the waist and pull it up and over his head, a feat that is virtually unheard of with traditional open heart patients.