Frtiz Lenhardt

Hybrid Suite Gives Hope 


Ninety-four years of life has taught Frederick “Fritz” Lenhardt to cherish the small stuff. 

In May 2021, his heart health was declining due to an issue with his aortic valve, which made the smallest tasks, like getting the mail, feel like running a marathon.

Fritz and his son Gary recalled how desperate the situation became. “I was scared I was going to walk in one day and he would be gone,” Gary reflected. Fritz shared that he was even worried about going to bed because he may not get up again.

However, they found hope after being referred to St. Joseph’s Heart & Vascular Institute by his cardiologist Dr. Rajiv Punjya. Gary called the institute and April Randall, RN, Structural Heart Coordinator, answered. She just happened to be opening Fritz’s file when she picked up the phone – it was the perfect timing the Lenhardt family needed.

Fritz’s case was reviewed the same day and was labeled high-priority.  “Speaking with April immediately lowered my stress level. She was courteous, thorough and answered all of my questions about the procedure,” Gary said. 

Because of Fritz’s age and condition, traditional open heart surgery to fix his aortic valve was considered too high risk. It was recommended he have a less invasive procedure, called TAVR, which uses a catheter to insert a new valve within the native diseased aortic valve, via a small incision in the leg.

Fritz’s TAVR procedure was performed in the Cardiac Hybrid Suite. The suite was largely funded by generous community donations. After an overnight stay in the hospital, Fritz was discharged home.

“Everything went like this,” Fritz said while snapping his fingers three times. “What impressed me most about the hospital was the courtesy and the kindness of everyone.”

Fritz’s renewed health and lease on life allowed him the opportunity to attend his granddaughter's wedding in Lake Tahoe. “I’m grateful. I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life right now,” he said. 

At the end of the day, it was the small stuff that came through for Fritz. A referral, a simple phone call and the kindness he received from St. Joseph’s Heart & Vascular Institute.