Norman Waldman: Congestive Heart Failure 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