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Hear Suzanne and her doctor share the story of her transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Summa's cardiac team offers patients new hope.

Suzanne Antal suffered from a narrowing of her main heart valve (severe aortic stenosis), as well as diabetes and lung disease. She needed surgery, but she was too frail to survive another open-heart surgery. A minimally-invasive procedure was her only hope.

In Summa's new hybrid operating room, interventional cardiologist Peter Bittenbender, M.D. teamed with a cardiothoracic surgeon, Suzanne's cardiologist, and a 15-person support team to perform a transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR. Much like a heart stent, her new valve was guided to her heart minimally invasively through an artery. She went home five days later and is back on stage directing the plays she loves.

Suzanne's Cardiac Team:

Peter Bittenbender, M.D.
Interventional Cardiologist

"This is a joint surgical and cardiology procedure, so the team works hand-in-hand. There's a whole room full of people thinking about that patient from every angle, coming up with a plan, then carrying it out in the hybrid operating room. I feel patients are the quarterback of their team. We're all just here to help them make the best decision they can about their care."

Robert Baranek, M.D.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Roger Chaffee, M.D., FACC


Sidney Dambrot


When Coach Keith Dambrot - Head Basketball Coach at the University of Akron - heard that his dad wasn’t breathing, it was the worst possible news. Sidney had suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest and only had a 2% chance of survival.

Let Keith tell you the story in his own words…

“It’s amazing when you’re 52 years old like I am now and what goes through your mind and what you remember about your dad… I think about everything my mom and dad did for me throughout my life and I can’t tell you how many times I think about how my dad was with me.”

The entire team at Summa Cardiovascular Institute was there for the Dambrots, and now Sid is back to playing basketball at 80 years of age

“I couldn’t believe that the nurses, how patient they were with people and how they had a calming effect for people that were upset because their families were in such grave condition. It just, I hadn’t been around a lot of hospital situations so I really didn’t know what to expect and I was just really amazed by it all.”

“I think they probably do a better job of working under quick and changing conditions more than any group I’ve ever seen. And that’s kind of what I do for a living. I have to adjust to the game. And their game means a lot more than my game and they’re adjusting constantly. Well, we have to do this. You have the cardiac doctor talking to the intensive care doctor and the nurse. And then the neurologist involved and they’re mixing medicines. I’ve never seen a team operate like that and under such dire conditions as those. And everybody basically keeping their composure, which, you know, you’ve got people that need you to keep your composure and they just do an unbelievable job of that.”

“My dad was in the hospital for 28 days. The transitions that we made along the way from ER to CCU to step down and rehab, I thought it was all one place. I didn’t realize that these were actually separate units. I thought they coordinated very well together. “

“When my dad got sick it was a shock. I didn’t expect it in the least because in some ways I thought he was in better shape than I was. And even though he was older, I really didn’t think that this would happen to him. And so when it happened, I was totally surprised by it.”

“We’re just very, very lucky and I’m just so happy that we were in a hospital like Summa and had the care that we had. It’s truly a miracle.”

Bernie Hovey


Don’t ignore the warning signs of a heart attack. Bernie Hovey hoped he would never hear these words: “Mr. Hovey, you’re having a heart attack.” Unfortunately, Bernie heard these words and later realized that while the signs were there, they were easy to ignore, something he urges others not to do.

Bernie’s day started out wonderfully. He had his twin granddaughters and was busy holding them, and walking them around the nearby lake. He knew that the tingling in his arms after he held them wasn’t normal, and he knew the shortness of his breath that occurred during his walk was odd. Bernie consciously knew that these signs could be symptoms of a heart attack but didn’t think it could happen to him. The next morning he woke up feeling ill. Halfway through his day teaching at Archbishop Hoban High School, Bernie decided to go to his primary care physician who sent him to Summa Western Reserve Hospital for an EKG. It was at this point that Bernie came to the realization that his biggest fear was true: He was having a heart attack.

Bernie was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital by ambulance where he was rushed to the catheterization lab. Dr. Kenneth E. Berkovitz, the system medical director at Summa Cardiovascular Institute, diagnosed Bernie with a completely blocked right coronary artery. Dr. Berkovitz placed two stents to open the artery. (A third stent was added to another artery about two weeks later.) Bernie describes his care at Summa Akron City Hospital as “first rate; I felt like I was the only person in the hospital.” Bernie is now back to teaching at Archbishop Hoban High School, serving as the mayor of Silver Lake and staying active with his wife.