He climbed Mt. Rainier when he was 50. Then he tackled Mt. Whitney when he was 60. So it was a big surprise to him when he learned he had a bad heart valve.
Harlie Peterson, a former Navy pilot who flew on D-Day in 1944, has always been active.
“I’ve done sports all my life. I’ve come to realize how important exercise is,” he said. So when his doctor suggested he get his heart tested, he wasn’t expecting a serious problem.
It really hit home when the tests showed that a failing aortic valve could kill him at any time.
At 95, Harlie wasn’t a candidate for open heart surgery but he was a perfect candidate for a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
“With the TAVR we enter through a small incision in the femoral artery and use it to implant the new aortic valve using a catheter,” explained Ethan Korngold, M.D., co-medical director of the Providence Valve Center. “Typically, these patients go home within 48 hours and can fully resume normal activities within a week.”
Harlie is the 500th patient Providence Heart has served with this procedure. His valve was replaced on June 6, the 72nd anniversary of his D-Day flight.
“You know, I think your mental attitude really determines things,” said Harlie. “I don’t think of myself as 95. I think of myself as around 65. My nurse asked me what my goal for recovery is, and I put down that I would like to be back playing tennis in one month.”
Thanks to you, Harlie was back playing tennis within a week of receiving his new heart valve. Your gift allowed Providence Heart to bring this procedure to Oregon in 2012, as one of only 25 U.S. hospitals selected to be part of a clinical trial. Thank you.
To learn more about Harlie and his new valve, watch his video here.