American Heart Association
American Heart Association is a health organization which supports research and education to help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.
Mended Hearts is a non-profit organization affiliated with American Heart Association offering education and support to patients and families facing heart disease.
Patient reference to answer questions about the heart valve replacement surgical process.
Support site for patients who have had or will have heart valve replacement.
American College of Cardiology
American College of Cardiology
CTSNet, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation jointly created by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), and the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery (EACTS).
The Adult Congenital Heart Association
The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is a nonprofit organization which seeks to improve the quality of life and extend the lives of congenital heart defect survivors.
The Children’s Heart Foundation
Motivated by the needs of our children, the goal of The Children’s Heart Foundation is to bring health, hope and happiness to children impacted by congenital heart defects, the number one birth defect in the United States.
C.H.I.N. is a national organization that provides reliable information, support services, financial assistance and resources to families of children with congenital heart defects and acquired heart disease, adults with congenital heart defects, and the professionals who work with them.
European Congenital Heart Disease Organisation
European self-help-groups for congenital heart disease have united themselves under the umbrella of ECHDO (European Congenital Heart Disease Organisation).
The Aortic Dissection Social Network
Social media support group dedicated to questions & information for aortic dissection survivors & aortic aneurysm sufferers family & friends
NOTE: Links are not sponsored by CryoLife, Inc.. Web sites are managed by third party organizations and are provided for your convenience.
Welcome and thank you for visiting the Patient Resource area. We encourage you to visit the online resources provided to obtain information about aortic valve disease, congenital heart disease, human heart valve transplantation, and learn more about surgical options, including the Ross Procedure.
Below you will find stories of patients whose lives CryoLife has touched.
Candy Murray's Story
Candy Murray received a CryoValve® SG Pulmonary Heart Valve in 2000. The results of her surgery were part of the data that was given to the FDA in order for CryoLife to receive clearance for the valve.
Stretch Ledford's Story
Charles "Stretch" Ledford was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve at five months old. After living a healthy and relatively normal life for 43 years, it became necessary to replace this valve. Stretch opted for a Ross Procedure, which means his aortic valve was replaced with his own pulmonary valve. His pulmonary valve was then replaced with a cryopreserved donor heart valve from CryoLife, the CryoValve(R) Pulmonary Valve Allograft. Now more than two years post-op, Stretch says he continues to live a healthy and normal life, running 10K races and working as a photojournalist in far-flung places around the world.
Please note that this is Mr. Ledford's personal testimony and individual results may vary.
No Longer on the Sidelines
Mara McCabe was diagnosed with aortic stenosis with insufficiency at the age of four. She was diagnosed by the family physician during a visit due to a cold. Fortunately, Mara experienced no symptoms during her childhood, although she was restricted from competitive sports.
Mara regularly visited a cardiologist from the time she was diagnosed. From age 4 to 21 she had an echocardiogram and EKG every year, and then after that she had an echo every other year. Mara was in her early 30s when she began to experience the symptom of fatigue. It was during a regular checkup that her cardiologist informed her that it was time for heart valve surgery. Mara’s cardiologist presented a couple of options, which included a mechanical valve and the Ross Procedure. The Ross Procedure is a surgical procedure in which the patient’s native pulmonary valve is moved to the aortic position and replaced with a human pulmonary valve.
To prepare for surgery, Mara conducted extensive research to be sure she chose the treatment option that was right for her. Her research included interviewing several surgeons in her area, searching information available on the internet, and reviewing publications in medical journals. In the midst of it all, she somehow was able to plan her own wedding as well!
Mara discovered during her research that mechanical valves require a lifetime of anticoagulation medication, which may limit her options to be physically active or have children someday. Therefore, Mara believed that perhaps the Ross Procedure might be the best treatment option. An important factor in Mara’s decision making process was to seek the advice of someone she trusted, which was her pediatric cardiologist. Mara’s pediatric cardiologist confirmed that the Ross Procedure would be the ideal solution for her.
In 2001, at the age of 33 and five days following her wedding, Mara underwent the Ross Procedure and received a CryoValve SG Pulmonary Heart Valve. Eight weeks after the surgery Mara said “I feel so much better than I have in years! Being able to do all that exercise I never was allowed to do is amazing!” Mara is now feeling great and enjoying being active in a women’s soccer league.