Patient Stories: Ron
Ron, Age 63
Grandfather to 12
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.“
Diagnosed as a teenager
Ron was diagnosed with aortic stenosis at the beginning of 8th grade. Aortic stenosis is when the aortic valve doesn’t open fully. In high school, he excelled at many sports and was named All-StaRte in baseball. Coincidentally, one of Ron’s school mates was Clyde Baker, a very good high school varsity basketball player who later became the CEO of On-X Life Technologies. It was four decades later when they met again, this time pulling for Ron’s life.
Ron has a family history of heart valve problems; both his brother and an uncle previously had valve replacement surgery. In late 2009, Ron was feeling increasingly fatigued during everyday activities. At his annual checkup, his cardiologist informed him that his heart was beginning to enlarge because of the additional burden of the faulty valve. It was time to consider a valve replacement.
“I wanted a valve that would last my entire lifetime without another surgery. When faced with the decision of taking a warfarin daily OR going through heart surgery again, I quickly decided the little inconvenience of taking a daily pill was preferable to going through heart surgery a second time.”
“My cardiologist asked if I wanted a tissue valve, which worked well but would only last 10-15 years, or a mechanical valve, which would last a lifetime but would require me to be on a blood thinning drug for the rest of my life,” he recalls. “Because I planned on living more than 15 years and didn’t want to have another heart valve surgery,” he says, “I decided on a mechanical valve.”
“I read everything. I listened to the surgeons, reviewed the clinical results online, and became acquainted with different valves’ features and benefits. I learned about the On-X valve’s lower complications rates, lowered drug levels and that no reoperation would be required in the future. The information made sense. I was completely at ease and felt peace with my decision to get an On-X valve, and had no fears whatsoever going into surgery.”
“My surgeon replaced my aortic valve with a minimally invasive surgery technique, making my recovery much easier and faster.”
Ron was up and walking without assistance the day after surgery, and – ever the avid golfer – was putting in the hospital hallway the day after that. He was back to work in less than two weeks, and just a few weeks later, shot a 75 in his first round of golf after surgery.
“I’m very active… I go to the gym regularly and chase my 12 grandkids!”
Since receiving his On-X Aortic Heart Valve, Ron says, “I’ve been able to do anything I wanted. I cut my lawn and work in my garden, chase my grandkids, exercise regularly, play golf and live an active and fulfilling life.” Ron holds the distinction of being the oldest qualifier for the Utah State Amateur Golf Competition. And to complete his recovery, Ron golfed in Scotland, where he walked 36 holes carrying his own golf bag and playing both Kingsbarn and the world-famous St. Andrews golf courses.
“I want to thank Dr. Jack Bokros and the entire team at On-X for your knowledge and dedication to the development of devices that have made my life better, and the lives of people around the world,” Ron says. “The world needs people like you. Keep up the good work.”
NOTE: This story reflects one person’s experience. Talk to your doctor about your situation and possible treatment options.