Best Life: Ross heart procedure lets Raj save Raj!

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT
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NEW YORK, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— It’s one of the most serious heart valve problems. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the valve that keeps blood flowing in the right direction through the heart. Many patients must choose between having their diseased valve replaced with a mechanical valve, or one made from animal tissue. Now, another option is becoming more widely considered, especially for younger patients.

Raj Jain loves being active and loves to travel, pairing both during a 2019 trip to Mexico City. But last year, after an hour-long workout at his gym, he felt nauseated and disoriented.

“I got so dizzy that I couldn’t even stand straight. So somehow holding the wall, I came back to my apartment,” Raj told Ivanhoe.

Tests determined Raj had aortic stenosis. His heart wasn’t moving blood efficiently. Raj needed to have his failing heart valve replaced. His doctor felt the 55-year-old would be the perfect candidate for something called a Ross procedure.

“What we do when we do a Ross, is that we actually borrow another valve from the patient’s own heart,” Ismail El-Hamamsy, MD, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, shared.

Surgeons remove the patient’s failing aortic valve, and replace it with the patient’s own pulmonary valve, which is a mirror image. Then doctors use a deceased donor valve in place of the missing pulmonary valve.

Doctors say the Ross works because the pulmonary valve is normally under less stress since the right chamber of the heart doesn’t work as hard as the left. Dr. El-Hamamsy says the Ross procedure is a good choice for active patients under 65 like Raj.

Dr. El-Hamamsy noted, “It is the one operation that is most compatible with a completely normal lifestyle. There are no restrictions, no medications, no limitations in terms of how much exercise they can do.”

After six days in the hospital, Raj began to recuperate. He’s now rebuilding his strength and is glad the Ross procedure was an option.

“I feel fortunate that it was brought to my attention and time will tell,” Raj exclaimed.

Doctors say some patients, like Raj are born with faulty valves that begin to show wear and tear as they approach middle age. Sometimes, aortic stenosis occurs in patients in their seventies and eighties as part of the normal aging process.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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