NEW YORK — Raj Jain loves being active and loves to travel, pairing both during a trip to Mexico City in 2019, but last year, after an hour-long workout at his gym, he felt nauseated and disoriented.
"I got so dizzy that I couldn't even stand straight, so somehow, holding the wall, I came back to my apartment," Jain explained.
Tests determined Jain had aortic stenosis. His heart wasn't moving blood efficiently. Jain needed to have his failing heart valve replaced. His doctor felt the 55-year-old would be the perfect candidate for something called a Ross procedure.
The procedure involves surgeons removing the patient's failing aortic valve and replacing it with the patient's own pulmonary valve, which is a mirror image. Then, doctors use a deceased donor valve in place of the missing pulmonary valve.
Doctors said the Ross works because the pulmonary valve is normally under less stress since the right chamber of the heart doesn't work as hard as the left. El-Hamamsy said the Ross procedure is a good choice for active patients under 65 like Jain.
"It is the one operation that is most compatible with a completely normal lifestyle," El-Hamamsy noted. "There are no restrictions, no medications, no limitations in terms of how much exercise they can do."
After six days in the hospital, Jain began to recuperate. He's now rebuilding his strength and is glad the Ross procedure was an option.
"I feel fortunate that it was brought to my attention, and time will tell," Jain exclaimed.
Doctors said some patients, like Jain, are born with faulty valves that begin to show wear and tear as they approach middle age. Sometimes, aortic stenosis occurs in patients in their 70s and 80s as part of the normal aging process.