On-X Heart Valve Patient Stories

Fred Hoiberg Head Coach, Chicago Bulls

Fred Hoiberg

NBA Player for 10 Years
Head Coach: Chicago Bulls
Husband, Father of 4, Age 43
On-X Aortic Valve Recipient

“Since getting my On-X valve, I feel as good as I did when I was playing in the NBA."

Fred Hoiberg played in the NBA for 10 years with the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Timberwolves, until 2005 when irregular cardiac readings from a routine physical benched him… and then changed his life forever.


Virginia Arena

Age 65


On-X Aortic Valve Recipient


“Once I was satisfied with what I knew about the On-X valve, I told my surgeon that it had to be the On-X valve, or I wasn’t going to have the surgery.”


Virginia Arena has always led an active life. She loves to dance, and in her 40’s, began a rigorous physical fitness program, including weight-training and taking various aerobic classes three to four times a week. It was during these classes that she noticed that she couldn’t keep up unless she took a thirty-second pause to catch her breath.



Age 36
High-Line Electrical Operator
Texas Team Roper
On-X Aortic Valve Recipient

“I chose an On-X valve because I didn’t want another operation and I could reduce my blood-thinner medication.”

At age 31, Jason learned he had been born with a bicuspid aortic valve – one that had only two leaflets instead of the usual three.


Mischel Satunas

Age 53
Hospital Volunteer & Heart Health Advocate
On-X Mitral Valve Recipient

“Since having the new On-X mitral heart valve, I am back up to riding eight miles on my bike each day. “

Mischel Satunas was born with a functional heart murmur. She has been very symptomatic her whole life, and remembers playing kickball as a kid and having to sit out of the game to catch her breath. At age 21, she began fainting while doing everyday tasks. 


Michael Marranca

Senior PA-C at Mayo Clinic
Husband, Father of 2, Age 56
On-X Aortic & Mitral Valve Recipient

“It’s a humbling experience, and I think it made me a more passionate practitioner. It allows me to relate to the patient in a way I wasn’t able to before.”

Michael Marranca is a senior PA-C at Mayo Clinic where he specializes in CT surgery. He’s also a heart valve surgery patient and recipient of two On-X mechanical heart valves.


Mike Thomas

Active Cyclist, Athlete, Age 54
U.S. Army Veteran (1982-2010)
Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
On-X Aortic Valve Recipient

“My doctors recommended a mechanical valve because I’m a younger patient, even at 54! They told me a tissue valve would wear out and require additional surgical procedures.”

In December 2014, doctors told Mike, an active cyclist who has been serving in the U.S. military for nearly three decades, that his heart valve was not functioning correctly. 



Independent Business Owner
Wife, Grandmother, Age 59
On-X Aortic Valve Recipient

“I have a valve that will last my lifetime.”

Marilyn was first diagnosed with a heart murmur at age 47, caused by a bicuspid valve in her heart (her aortic valve had only two working leaflets instead of three). She also had a family history of heart valve problems; her father had a bicuspid aortic valve and aortic valve surgery.



Grandfather to 12
Golfer, Age 63
On-X Aortic Valve Recipient

“I did my research and On-X seemed to be the best valve for me, so I requested my surgeon use the On-X valve.”

Ron was diagnosed with aortic stenosis at the beginning of 8th grade. Aortic stenosis is when the aortic valve doesn’t open fully. 



Active Mom of 2
Accountant, Age 33
On-X Aortic Valve Recipient

“I had to keep myself calm because I knew, with every heartbeat, that my insides were tearing open. I knew I was in God’s hands… I’m grateful that my surgeon, Dr. Mark Pool, selected the On-X valve for my emergency heart valve replacement surgery”

Just hours after Whitney delivered her second child, a premature daughter named Willow, she felt a sharp, unfamiliar pain in her chest. 


Age 18
On-X Aortic Valve Recipient

“Three different doctors suggested the On-X valve for Neil, because of its advanced design and materials – it will not wear out like tissue valves.”

Neil’s pediatrician first detected a heart murmur when the boy was two weeks old, and an echocardiogram test confirmed that he had a bicuspid aortic heart valve, a congenital condition in which the valve contains only two working leaflets rather than the usual three.