Patient Stories: Mara
CryoValve Heart Valve
Ross Procedure Patient
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.
No Longer on the Sidelines
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.
NOTE: This story reflects one person’s experience. Talk to your doctor about your situation and possible treatment options.