Explore UPMC.com

Norman Waldman: Congestive Heart Failure Patient Story

HVI patient Norman Waldman | HVI Patient Story

The Challenge: Severe Aortic Stenosis

Norman Waldman enjoys life with Marie, his wife of 67 years, in Pittsburgh’s Mount Lebanon community.

The 90-year-old World War II veteran and retired vocational school administrator says he feels pretty good for his age, but in the spring of 2014 he had become short of breath and felt more tired than usual.

Norman’s doctor diagnosed him with congestive heart failure caused by severe aortic stenosis.

Severe aortic stenosis happens when the aortic valve becomes narrow and limits blood flow from the heart into the aorta and out into the body. It affects many people as they age. Over time, it can lead to heart failure and lower a person’s quality of life.

The Path to UPMC's Center for Aortic Valve Disease

In the past, treatment for severe aortic stenosis was limited to open heart surgery and medical therapy, but not everyone can have open heart surgery because of age and other medical conditions. Recently, a less invasive procedure — called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) — has become an option for people who are too high risk for traditional open heart surgery.

Norman’s doctor thought he would be a good candidate for TAVR and referred him to Thomas Gleason, MD and John Schindler, MD at UPMC’s Center for Aortic Valve Disease. The center has the most experienced TAVR program in the Pittsburgh region.

The Solution: A New Heart Valve

Norman underwent a TAVR procedure with Dr. Gleason and Dr. Schindler in August 2014 at UPMC Shadyside.

During the procedure, the doctors made a small incision in Norman’s leg and guided a catheter — a thin, flexible tube — with a replacement valve into his heart. Once the new valve was in the right place, it expanded over Norman’s existing valve, restoring proper blood flow.

“They treated me like I was pure gold,” Norman says of his experience with the doctors, nurses, and staff.

Today, Norman feels great and is back to his regular routine. He and Marie enjoy seeing plays and musicals and staying active in their community.

Norman's treatment and results may not be representative of similar cases.

Learn More About Aortic Stenosis and Heart Failure

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute:

UPMC Patient Education Materials:

From our Health Library at UPMC.com:

Emmi ™ Patient Education Videos:

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA | UPMC.com