Heart Patient Pays it Forward

Win and Susan Priem Give $100,000 to Cardiology

A minimally invasive heart procedure at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center saved Win Priem’s life. He was so grateful that he and his wife, Susan, made a gift of $100,000, so more cardiac patients can benefit from the same treatment he received.

Win underwent a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which is typically reserved for patients for whom conventional open heart surgery might be too dangerous. With TAVR, a surgeon makes a very small opening in the groin and uses a catheter to deliver a replacement valve to the heart via the femoral artery. By 2025, the American College of Cardiology estimates that some 300,000 TAVR procedures will be performed globally each year.

Win couldn’t believe how quickly he was able to recover. “I had the procedure at 1:00, and it took an hour and a half,” he said. “I was walking around at 6:00 that night. Two days later, I was home, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.”

Better outcomes for patients

Interventional cardiologist Thomas Piemonte, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon Gregory Smaroff, MD, and the heart valve team performed Win’s TAVR procedure, which is on track to overtake open heart surgery as the go-to treatment for patients with aortic valves that fail to open properly. “Not only is it less invasive, but it has fewer complications and the recovery is faster,” said Frederic Resnic, MD, MSc, division chair of cardiology. “Cardiology is really always on the edge of innovation.”

Dr. Resnic plans to use the Priems’ generous donation for research and education related to minimally invasive heart valve treatments.

Win Priem hopes that his donation will inspire other grateful patients to open their wallets to help continue to build on the hospital’s structural heart program and, eventually, build a new electrophysiology lab where TAVR and other interventional cardiology procedures can be performed. High demand for these treatments now has physicians working late into the night to accommodate all their patients in the existing facilities.

“Gifts like this allow us to push forward with innovating and push forward with these cutting edge procedures for patients,” Dr. Resnic said.

Win has been a Lahey patient since 1987 and served as a trustee on the hospital’s board for 13 years. Because he receives all of his medical care at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, he knows firsthand just how much impact these doctors and his donation can have.

“I just want other TAVR recipients to realize that this is something special,” Win said. “What I was most impressed with was the team effort. That was quite extraordinary. Everything was coordinated and it went off like clockwork.”