BENTON, LA (KSLA) - Aortic stenosis is one of the most common valve disease problems.
It is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening, restricting the blood flow in the heart. Some people will need their valve replaced to fix the disease.
Seventy-year-old Kenneth O'Glee is a retired forester, he usually spends a lot of time active and outdoors.
"I noticed that I just couldn't do it anymore, I just got tired and had to stop and I said I've got to do something," O'Glee said.
Thirteen days ago, O'Glee got his aortic valve replaced. He had aortic stenosis, which causes less blood to flow through the valve, leaving the body with a reduced supply of oxygenated blood.
It mainly affects older people, the result of scarring and calcium buildup in the valve folds.
"People who have aortic stenosis can give up congestive heart failure because the blood coming in from the lung is trying to leave the heart but it can't," said Dr. Curtis Prejean, a cardiovascular surgeon at Willis-Knighton. "Blood backs up to the lungs, you get short of breath. They can have chest pain because there's not enough blood pressure coming out and cause them to have symptoms of a heart attack."
One way to fix it is by replacing the valve, which could mean surgery.
"I'm just basically a plumber, if you have coronary disease, you have rusty pipes, you need to put new pipe in. If you have a rusty valve, or a clogged up valve, we need to cut that valve out and put a new valve in," Dr. Prejean said. And if you think about your kitchen sink, if your valve and the faucets really bad, you turn the water on, you don't get any water out. You have to have more water pressure to help push that to get a decent flow of water. But at some point, even though you have all the pressure in the world before the rusty spot, it's not going to drain very well, it's not going to flow very well. So it's the same thing with the heart, as people develop aortic stenosis, the heart is a muscle, so the heart with hypertrophy and get thicker, but eventually, it gets to the point where no matter how strong the heart is, it can't push the blood through the aortic valve,"
Normally, valve replacement is done through open heart surgery. There's a type of replacement valve called the Intuity valve which makes the process much easier for patients.
"Three sutures and a balloon for 10 seconds, that's way faster than trying to hand tie 12-15 stitches," Dr. Prejean said.
Nearly two weeks after surgery, O'Glee says he already feels better than he did before his procedure.
"I feel like a new man," O'Glee said.
And he's already ready to get back to his regular routine. "These doctors appointments and meetings I've had are keeping me from exercising like I like to be doing because I'm ready to go fishing. And I've got to do what they tell me to do to be able to do that as quickly as possible," O'Glee said.
Patients who are a good candidate for the Intuity valve are those with a less severe case of aortic stenosis. Also, patients who are at higher risk of co-morbidities if they were to have open-heart surgery.