“He listened to my heart and said I should be evaluated by a valve specialist,” Jack explained. “I worried about whether it would be successful or not. I didn’t want to do it if it wasn’t going to be successful.”
Dr. Stern referred him to Bruce Rutkin, MD, director of Structural Heart Disease at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset. Dr. Rutkin confirmed that Jack had severe aortic stenosis, a condition where the aortic valve calcifies and hardens over time. Given Jack’s age, Dr. Rutkin believed he would be a good candidate for a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive method of replacing the aortic valve.
“Before this technology, the only way to address a severely narrowed aortic valve was to perform open-heart surgery and replace the damaged valve with a new one,” Dr. Rutkin said. “That sort of traditional procedure would be too dangerous for a man of Jack’s age. But the TAVR worked like a charm.”
Dr. Rutkin and the team at the Heart Hospital were one of the first to perform TAVR in the region. They offer patients the latest treatment options, including access to landmark clinical trials—only offered by the most experienced hospitals.
“Dr. Rutkin did a beautiful job,” Jack said. “He made an inch and a half to 2-inch incision near my heart and fixed everything up and now I’m home and I feel great.”
Jack said his doctors have given him a new lease on life. A few months following the TAVR procedure, Jack said he is feeling good and ready to embrace everything life has to offer.
“I don’t have any more pain in my heart, I’m breathing just fine and I feel good. My brain is working good, too, thank God,” he said. “It’s like Dr. Stern and Dr. Rutkin gave me an extension on my life. And I plan to keep going—my barber told me if I make it to 100, he’ll give me free haircuts.”