After Ross Procedure Success, Elizabeth Runs to Support Heart Disease Patients!
By Adam Pick on May 26, 2020
When courageous patients transform medical lemons into lemonade, I want you to know about it.
Eizabeth Boylan is a perfect example. An athlete, wife and mother from Canada, Elizabeth was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. Like many patients, Elizabeth knew she may need surgery in the future and was in “watchful waiting” for many years. That, however, did not stop Elizabeth’s passion for running.
Unfortunately… Elizabeth, 43, became symptomatic due to severe aortic stenosis, a deadly form of heart disease caused by her bicuspid aortic valve. Elizabeth was short-of-breath, tired and even fainted one time while running. She needed her valve fixed.
The Ross Procedure for Elizabeth?
After Elizabeth evaluated the common options for aortic valve replacement – a cow valve, a pig valve or a mechanical valve – Elizabeth chose the Ross Procedure. The Ross Procedure is a unique form of aortic valve replacement in which the patient’s pulmonary valve is switched into the diseased aortic valve position. Then, a human cadaver valve is placed in the pulmonary valve position. Developed in the 1960’s by Dr. Donald Ross, this operation is often called the “Switch” procedure.
Ross Procedure Diagram (aka the “Switch” Procedure)
Select benefits of the Ross Procedure include (i) no need for anti-coagulants (warfarin, Coumadin), (ii) a potential lifelong fix and (iii) the potential use of a noninvasive, transcatheter procedure should re-operation be required. To learn much more about the Ross Procedure, click here.
Elizabeth Finds Dr. El-Hamamsy, A Ross Procedure Expert
As you may have already figured out from the diagram above, the Ross Procedure is very, very, very complex operation. For this reason, Elizabeth and John, her husband, researched many surgeons until they found Dr. Ismail El-Hamamsy, an aortic valve specialist who has performed over 400 Ross Procedures. (So you know, that is A LOT of Ross Procedures.)
A runner as well… Dr. El-Hamamsy, who relocated his practice from Montreal Heart Institute to The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City after Elizabeth’s operation, readied her for a quick return to the sport she loves. Going into surgery, Elizabeth asked Dr. El-Hamamsy, “When can I start training for the New York City Marathon in 2020?” Dr. El-Hamamsy replied, “Right away.”
Elizabeth got moving right after surgery. “Even in the hospital, I was moving up-and-down the halls,” Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth Returns to Running
Just 90 days after her operation, Elizabeth ran the Whistler Half Marathon in 2 hours and 12 minutes. Three weeks later, she ran the Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon in 2 hours and 7 minutes.
“It felt really good,” Elizabeth shared.
Now, Elizabeth is preparing to run the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 1 as a member of the American Heart Association’s Team Heart & Stroke. Go Elizabeth!!!
When reflecting on the success of her recovery, Elizabeth offers patients the following advice, “Walk as much as you can, eat fresh healthy food – slowly, surround yourself with good people and get a good night’s sleep.”
Help Elizabeth Support Heart Disease Patients!
Just when you thought Elizabeth’s story couldn’t get any better… It does.
In an effort to raise awareness to heart disease, its research, its management and its treatment, Elizabeth set a personal goal to raise $4,000 for the American Heart Association in connection with her New York City Marathon training. Wonderful!!!!
Keep on tickin’ Elizabeth!