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Santa takes photos with Glendale hospital staff after heart surgery

(Abrazo Arrowhead Photo)

PHOENIX — Christmas Day came early for the doctors and staff at a Glendale hospital last week.

Santa showed up to take pictures on Dec. 10 after receiving transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) surgery at the Abrazo Arrowhead campus in September.

Professional Santa Lowell Kuester told doctors before his surgery that he, “needed his heart fixed before Christmas because he is ‘Santa,’” Katrina Ostwald, Abrazo Arrowhead structural heart nurse navigator, said in a press release.

A defective valve caused the need for surgery, hospital staff told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Merick Kirshner told Kuester they would fix his heart, but he wanted a visit from him as Santa when the holidays rolled around.

In the release, cardiologist Dr. Nishant Gupta said, “We added jingle to Santa’s heart with minimally invasive valve surgery. We all know Santa delivers happiness. But what happens when Santa’s generous heart needs some repairs? This is a truly heartwarming story.”

Kuester returned to the facility dressed in his full outfit, keeping the promise of taking pictures with the doctors and staff as the iconic figure.

“It was an emotional and happy day for everyone involved,” Ostwald said.

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