GREELEY, Colo. (Feb. 16, 2022) – When Jeffrey Beauprez of Wiggins agreed to be the first patient to have a robotic-assisted heart valve repair at Banner North Colorado Medical Center, he told his physician that being the first to do something was a lifelong goal.
With that, Beauprez helped the cardiothoracic surgery program at Banner’s Greeley hospital introduce a higher level of care to patients in the region.
Banner cardiothoracic surgeon Dwight Slater, MD, said this type of minimally invasive surgery means patients can have life-changing heart surgery with less pain and shorter time to recover. In this case, the patient was able to return to work in 2 weeks.
A traditional heart surgery requires a 6- to 8-inch opening and separation of the sternum so the surgeon can physically access the heart. However, the robotic-assisted mitral valve repair is done with several smaller incisions of less than 1/3 of an inch to insert the robotic tools that are controlled by the surgeon at a console.
Mitral valve repair or replacement is necessary if a patient has a leaky valve. A leaky mitral valve causes poor blood flow and symptoms including an irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing while lying flat or with exercise, swelling, fatigue and coughing. Untreated, it can cause heart failure.
With early intervention, the patient can avoid further heart damage and return to a normal lifestyle with a normal life expectancy.
Beauprez met with Dr. Slater in August 2021 when Dr. Slater first joined Banner. Beauprez knew he’d been having symptoms and shared that he did not want a valve repair through open heart surgery. Dr. Slater asked for time to get to know his colleagues and the operating room team before scheduling the procedure.
From there, Dr. Slater prepared the team rigorously going step by step and covering the “what-ifs” to make sure they were prepared.
“This wasn’t my first time doing this type of surgery, but it was the first time this team did it and we wanted to be prepared,” he said.
Now, Dr. Slater said Banner’s cardiovascular team can treat a broader scope of heart concerns. The team of diverse specialists collaborate to discuss different ways to care for each patient and determine which approach is the best for each person.
Media: f you are interested in speaking with Dr. Slater or Jeffrey Beauprez and learning about the robotic-assisted mitral valve replacement surgery or other minimally invasive cardiac and thoracic procedures, please contact [email protected]
About Banner Health
Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.