92-year-old Knoxville man celebrates with Parkwest as 1,000th TAVR patient

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Nine-hundred, ninety-nine patients needing trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, surgery had gone before him.

But on Wednesday, Parkwest Medical Center’s 1,000th TAVR patient, Bill Mackabee celebrated the milestone alongside hospital personnel.

Bill Mackabee, Parkwest Medical Center’s 1,000th TAVR surgery patient, speaks at the celebration event on Feb. 24, 2021. (Photo: WATE)

Mackabee, 92, said he continues to enjoy life since undergoing the surgery last year.

“My primary doctor I go see once a year, sometimes twice a year, he keeps telling me for the last 10 years I’m going to live to be 100 years old, so I might make it,” Mackabee said. “Without the procedure I don’t think that I’d be here today. I’m very grateful.”

A Parkwest cardiologist shared how TAVR benefits patients.

“He is the reason, in my opinion, that TAVR was started. A patient like him, we would have not likely offered him a surgery,” Dr. Frank Todd, co-director of the hospital’s structural heart program, said. “Because it would have been unlikely to make him live longer and it certainly would have made it hard for him to live better because of recovery potential.”

Parkwest was the first hospital in East Tennessee to perform the groundbreaking procedure.

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