Skydiver, Bill Legard, Jumps For An Edwards INSPIRIS RESILIA Heart Valve Replacement

By Adam Pick on October 29, 2019 - This blog is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences.

Bill Legard is a very active 59-year old.  He’s a skydiver, a pilot, an entrepreneur and Bill makes parachutes for a living.  On a recent hike in Indonesia, Bill struggled with shortness of breath. His cardiologist diagnosed Bill with severe aortic stenosis, a life-threatening form of heart valve disease.

Considering his active lifestyle, Bill struggled with his valve replacement options.  Then, Bill heard about the INSPIRIS RESILIA aortic valve from Edwards Lifesciences that is helping so many patients in our community.  This is Bill’s story.



Many thanks to Bill for sharing his amazing story with our community!  And, as always, thanks to Dr. Kevin Accola at AdventHealth in Orlando, Florida, for taking such great care of Bill!

I would also like to congratulate Edwards Lifesciences for its continued success with the INSPIRIS RESILIA aortic valve that took over a decade to develop.

Keep on tickin!


Important Safety Information: INSPIRIS RESILIA Aortic Valve

Indications: For use in replacement of native or prosthetic aortic heart valves. Contraindications: There are no known contraindications with the use of the INSPIRIS RESILIA aortic valve. Complications and Side Effects: Thromboembolism, valve thrombosis, hemorrhage, hemolysis, regurgitation, endocarditis, structural valve deterioration, nonstructural dysfunction, stenosis, arrhythmia, transient ischemic attack/stroke, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, any of which could lead to reoperation, explantation, permanent disability, and death. Warnings: DO NOT ADJUST THE VALVE DIAMETER BY EXPANDING THE BAND PRIOR TO/OR DURING IMPLANTATION OF THE SURGICAL VALVE. The expandable band is not designed to allow for compression or expansion during implantation of the surgical valve. This will cause damage to the valve and may result in aortic incompetence. DO NOT PERFORM STAND-ALONE BALLOON AORTIC VALVULOPLASTY PROCEDURES ON THIS VALVE FOR THE SIZES 19 – 25 mm as this may expand the valve causing aortic incompetence, coronary embolism or annular rupture. Valve-in-Valve sizing in the INSPIRIS valve has only been tested with specific Edwards transcatheter heart valves. Use of other transcatheter valves may result in embolization of transcatheter devices anchored within or result in annular rupture.

CAUTION: Federal (USA) law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. See instructions for use for full prescribing information, including indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and adverse events.


P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, please find below a written transcript of Bill’s video.

BILL: My name is Bill Legard. I’m 59 years old, I live in DeLand, Florida. I’ve been fortunate to lead a very active lifestyle. I wanna get up and go and make things happen. I enjoy flying airplanes, skiing, scuba diving, cycling and that’s a way I’ve chosen to live my life. Flying airplanes gives my wife and I freedom, the ability to see the world in a way that not everybody else gets to see it. And in order to support this adventure habit, I’ve recently started a parachute company with a friend. It allows me to combine my love of adventure with an actual business that helps support that. I first found out I had aortic stenosis by accident when I was being prepped for back surgery. I had no symptoms. Then last year, I was in Bali, and we climbed a thousand foot peak and I found myself being very short of breath, my heart rate would go up to 125, I’d sit down, rest, drink water, and it took me 8 cycles of that to climb 1,000 feet. When I met with my cardiologist later, he said “You’re not just out of shape. Those are symptoms of aortic stenosis and it’s now moved to severe. And you will need a valve replacement at some point in the future.” That was hard to hear. The things that could be affected by this situation, my family, my business. The fear was very real. But luckily, there was a solution.

Dr. Accola: At Bill’s age of 59, we’d consider a mechanical heart valve, which will last longer, but to avoid a potential stroke, he’d have to take blood thinners or Coumadin and follow a very dedicated dosing schedule the rest of his life. Plus blood thinners would put Bill at a significant risk of severe bleeding.

BILL: Blood thinners would mean completely re-looking at how I live my life. If I were no longer able to pursue my passion, it would certainly impact my livelihood.

Dr. Accola: Tissue valves are a better choice for active people, but depending on the patient’s age, they may not last as long with earlier valve deterioration. So I told him about the new INSPIRIS RESILIA aortic valve. This valve is made with RESILIA tissue, it’s a bovine pericardial tissue with integrity preservation technology that actually blocks calcium buildup on the valve over time. The animal data on RESILIA tissue is quite promising and it could really make a difference for active patients. The INSPIRIS Valve also has a feature called VFit technology.

BILL: …And that was an-an easy no-brainer decision. The surgery went pretty seamless, and now I’m three months out and I feel fantastic. I’m exercising regularly, I’m taking on tons of challenges… meeting new customers…and I feel great. Getting back to flying has been amazing. It’s wonderful to be able, after the heart surgery and recovery to get back in and have that freedom to go. But sometimes it’s not enough and I just gotta jump. If you’re gonna jump, you better have a good parachute. And we make fantastic parachutes. And that’s super rewarding. I could not even imagine what my life would be like on blood thinners. So I’m grateful for this amazing product and what the new INSPIRIS valve has done for me.

Edwards, Edwards Lifesciences, INSPIRIS, INSPIRIS RESILIA, and RESILIA are trademarks of Edwards Lifesciences Corporation. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

© 2019 Edwards Lifesciences Corporation. All rights reserved. PP–US-3727 v2.0


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

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