Avenel patient thankful for treatment added to Medicare list

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Recovering: TAVI patient Roger Fisher, from Avenel, received the non-invasive treatment for heart valve disease.

An Avenel resident says a treatment for aortic stenosis, or heart valve disease, which has just been added to Medicare has dramatically changed his life.

Father-of-two and retired veterinarian Roger Fisher was diagnosed with heart valve disease in 2020 after experiencing shortness of breath, which eventually compromised his mobility.

Aortic stenosis is a type of heart valve disease caused by a thickening, stiffening or fusing of the aortic valve, leaving less space for blood to flow through, therefore forcing the heart to work harder.

Mr Fisher’s cardiologists determined his disease was advancing rapidly and it was recommended that he undergo the minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVI procedure.

The procedure helps improve his damaged aortic valve by replacing it with an artificial valve.

“I couldn't walk very far, and I most certainly couldn't walk uphill,” Mr Fisher said.

“You’re okay for a while and then suddenly you get a bit worse. Then you think to yourself, ‘I’ll be better in a couple of days’, but you’re not.

“My legs were swelling, I had to stay in bed for longer and I started to feel the need for more recovery and relaxation.”

Mr Fisher said he was thankful for the TAVI procedure and urged people not to ignore symptoms.

“Listen to your body and proceed with speed,” he said.

“Visit your doctor for a heart health check without delay. It could literally save your life.”

Adding the procedure to Medicare means patients advised to undergo the TAVI treatment will not have to pay for it wholly out of their own pocket. Instead, it will be covered with a benefit of 75 per cent.