Buffalo General Hospital Selected to Perform Lifesaving Surgery

January 25, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 7:45 AM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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January 25, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 7:45 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW)- Buffalo General Hospital has been selected to be the first and only hospital in Western New York to perform a groundbreaking surgery.

The procedure is called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement. According to doctors, it is a minimally invasive procedure in which an artificial heart valve is attached to a wire frame and guided through the femoral artery by catheter to the heart.

Once in place, the wire frame enlarges, to allow the new valve to pump the blood properly. The announcement is exciting news to many patients suffering from heart disease and heart failure who would otherwise not be considered suitable for conventional surgery. Two Western New Yorkers have already underwent this ground breaking surgery and say they've never felt better.

"I thought I was going to be gone when they told me my valve wasn't working. It saved my life," said Town of Tonawanda Resident Robert Cecchini.

"I just can't thank them enough for getting me this far," said Janice Savey of Olean.

Doctors believe this will be beneficial to patients and to the area, since the next nearest hospital that provides this surgery is the Cleveland Clinic.

"This technology allows us to do these procedures in patients who are not operable, and were told by a surgeon or a surgical team their risk of surgery was too high," said Dr. Vijay Iyer, Medical Director of Cardiology at Kaleida Health. "For those patients, we can implant a valve and improve their heart function."