10 Years & 3 Heart Procedures Later, Paul Celebrates His Transcatheter Mitral “Valve-in-Valve” Replacement

At the age of 57, Paul Powers had actively pursued a healthy mitral valve for the past 10 years. During that time, Paul had BOTH mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement procedures. Unfortunately, Paul recently began to feel short of breath and  completely fatigued as his bio-prosthetic valve began to fail.

As Paul did not want to go through another open heart procedure — given the trauma and surgical risk —  Paul looked for an alternative approach to fixing his valve. That is when Paul learned that a transcatheter mitral “Valve-In-Valve” replacement might do the trick. This is Paul’s story…


I have to admit… I had no idea that a transcatheter mitral “Valve-In-Valve” was even possible — until I met Paul. That said, thanks so much to Paul for sharing his story with me and our community. Also, I would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Chris Malaisrie and the Northwestern team for taking such great care of Paul!

Keep on tickin Paul!

P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, please find below a written transcript of this video:

Paul Powers: I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse. It caused me to be tired constantly. I would have trouble breathing. It compromised everything that I did. I really enjoy walking, and that’s one of the things I missed for quite a while. My name is Paul Powers. I’m 57 years old. I’m from Lombard, Illinois.

About 13 months after my first mitral valve repair, I noticed the shortness of breath was coming back again. I came back in to see Dr. McCarthy and as we had discussed in the beginning that there would be some challenges with trying to repair it, and we decided at that time it was time to replace the valve.

I enjoyed many years with my mitral valve replacement, and then in December of 2015, I noticed that I was getting tired again. I could not walk as far as I had been walking. We found out that the valve was failing again.

Dr. Chris Malaisrie: Mr. Powers is a very special case in that he’s had already two previous cardiac operations, both initially very successful but later on went on to fail. We thought that a valve-in-valve procedure would be a very good procedure for him, especially because it would be a difficult re-operative procedure. I’m Chris Malaisrie. I’m an attending cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Medicine in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Paul Powers: The biggest point for me was Northwestern; it put me at ease. They explained the whole process to me in a way I could understand it. You go from the doctors down to the nurses to the support staff, everybody was there for you. They were there to answer your questions. One of the nicest things about the transcatheter valve-in-valve is there was no breaking of the sternum. There was no incision on my upper body whatsoever. For lack of better word, low impact on my system.

Dr. Chris Malaisrie: So the procedure of valve-in-valve procedure refers to a transcatheter heart procedure. In these cases, patients have a previous surgical bioprosthetic or tissue valve in place, which has unfortunately failed and instead of doing a repeat open heart surgery, we can do a transcatheter procedure, much like a TAVR procedure where we go inside the artery and place a transcatheter valve inside the old surgical valve.

Paul Powers:  The valve-in-valve was, hands down, a much easier operation on me and on my recovery.

Dr. Chris Malaisrie: Mr. Powers is doing great after the initial surgery with the transcatheter valve-in-valve procedure, who was discharged to home after a very short period of stay in the hospital and returned to normal activities in a very short amount of time.

Paul Powers:  For me, since I’ve had this procedure, my life has changed dramatically. On Sunday, I walked four and a half miles. To have a procedure done on March 31st and be able to walk four miles, my goal was by Labor Day, to be able to walk four miles again. On Labor Day, I made that accomplishment. The biggest part of having a valve-in-valve and what I would suggest to other people is to talk with your doctors, to listen to what they say, to take notes. Educate yourself on the procedure you’re having done.

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

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