Annette Hebert has stories to tell

Published 3/21/2016

That’s what happens when you live for 95 years. IMG_1040_Annette.jpg

Her French-Canadian accent is still thick, her wit is still sharp and the stories she tells are still fresh in her mind.

She will tell you about the blind date that led to marrying the man who eventually became her husband, or riding alongside her uncle in an oil truck through the streets of Manchester. She will tell you of square dancing and the time she spends growing vegetables in her garden. 

Annette still lives in her own house and drives her own car. And, thanks to a life-saving procedure performed at Catholic Medical Center’s New England Heart and Vascular Institute, she has no plans to slow down.

“It gave me another 95 years to live,” Annette says with a laugh. “I feel really, really good.”

Annette- who turned 95 on March 14 - is one of the oldest patients to receive the revolutionary transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, by the specialists at CMC. Her team included Dr. James Flynn and Dr. Benjamin Westbrook.

The minimally invasive procedure helps extend the lives of people with aortic stenosis who may be at high risk or not eligible for a valve replacement requiring open-heart surgery. TAVR procedures are most commonly performed in patients who are in their seventies or eighties or even older, like Annette.  They are performed by delivering the fully collapsible replacement valve through a catheter inserted in the femoral artery or a large artery in the chest.

The procedure was commercially approved in the United States in 2011 and was first performed at CMC’s New England Heart and Vascular Institute in 2013. “It’s a great new option for patients who are at high risk for traditional open heart valve surgery.” Dr. Flynn says.

Annette Hebert always knew CMC would be the place for her to receive care. After all, this is the only hospital she has known since arriving in Manchester in 1941 from the small farming town of Rivière-Verte, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, to work for her uncle’s oil delivery business. 

She and her husband raised their family in a three-decker house at the corner of Rimmon and Mason Streets, on the West Side, and lived there for 60 years.  She moved to a house in the Pinardville section of Goffstown after her husband died in 2000, but still drives back to the old neighborhood to attend church at St. Marie. 

The West Side has been a big part of her life and CMC has held a special place. This is where both of her daughters were born and it is where she has been treated every time she needed to go to the hospital. CMC was certainly the place she was going when she was told she would need to have the TAVR procedure.

“She didn’t want to go anywhere else,” says Denise Rosander, Annette daughter. “We are very fortunate to have this.”

Annette was back home two days after the procedure and was driving again a week later. She is now picked-up by a CMC shuttle for cardiac rehab three times a week. She may not shovel her own driveway anymore, but Annette’s routine has not changed drastically after this life-extending procedure.

She still cooks her own food, such as salmon and cheese and tomato sandwiches, and plays bingo every week.

“You have to live happy-go-lucky,” she says. “And I am very happy after this.”