Talk about a rush job: A heart surgery done in 19 minutes instead of hours saved his life.

You can almost hear the song "Under Pressure" as you read this story.

Max Morton was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital's emergency room with all the signs of a failing heart valve.

His blood pressure was crashing before his doctors' eyes, and he wasn't a good candidate for open-heart surgery. He'd previously had an artificial aortic valve put in, and it was failing. The signs of heart failure that usually cropped up over many days all started appearing within six hours.

He needed a valve replacement stat, but the mortality rate for patients who've previously had a valve surgery is 34%.


A heart valve replacement usually takes hours. Only Morton didn't have hours.

There was one option, but it had only ever been done with careful planning on patients who were in good condition — not crashing like Morton. The medical team decided to go for it.

It's called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Here's how it works:

A catheter is inserted through the femoral artery in the upper leg.

The new valve is placed in the heart via that catheter, and a balloon expands it once it's in place.

The catheter is removed and the new valve stays in place, doing its job to keep regulating the flow of blood from the heart.

GIFs from Arizona PBS/YouTube.

While less invasive than open-heart surgery, TAVR usually takes a while. And it's usually planned in advance because it takes a big team effort.

Dr. David Rizik, an expert on TAVR, explained to PBS why it needs so many people. Essentially, it works best when you have an anesthesiologist, an echocardiographer, and a non-invasive cardiologist leading the work. But there's also backup staff, nurses and technicians, and an open-heart surgeon on standby.

It's the epitome of an all-hands-on-deck moment!

That's what makes it so astounding that Vancouver General was able to pull it off on the fly.

They had every piece of equipment and every type of professional needed to play each specific role in concert with each other.

Because of that preparedness, they were able to perform the procedure in 19 minutes!

The team made it happen! Max Morton and Dr. David Wood (center) with the team. Images from Vancouver Coastal Health, used with permission.

Dr. David Wood is the interventional and structural cardiologist at Vancouver General who led the procedure with his team. In an interview with CBC, he marveled at what this case could mean for hospitals everywhere.

"To be able to have people come in critically ill like this, mobilize a team, and fix a valve like this through the leg, in that short period of time, I mean — the sky's the limit now, truly."

Since the average survival rate for someone in need of a valve replacement "without surgical intervention is only 50 percent after two years and only 20 percent after five years," perfecting this kind of technology and making it more accessible is crucial to people not putting off treatment. In emergency cases, it's even more critical.

If other hospitals take a page out of Vancouver General Hospital's book, it could mean more success stories like Max Morton's.

Instead of becoming another statistic of heart disease, the 79-year-old fishing enthusiast was able to joke around about going out fishing about 20 minutes after his procedure.

Families everywhere need more happy outcomes like this!

Heroes
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared