Grant Little, Minimally Invasive Right Chest Aortic Valve Replacement
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Soccer has been a big part of Grant’s life since he was 15— almost as long as he’s lived with an abnormal aortic valve, the structure that allows blood to pass from the heart into the body’s main artery.
Grant, a 65-year-old semiretired Benton resident, was born with a valve that has two leaflets instead of the normal three, an abnormality that can eventually allow blood to leak backward into the heart. For decades, the valve gave him no trouble, but he always knew he would eventually need to do something about it. In late 2014, his physicians advised him not to delay surgical treatment much longer.
Homework Pays Off
Grant researched surgeons and hospitals carefully.
His cardiologist, C. Randolph Hubbard, MD, of the PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute, said, “Grant, I will send you anywhere you want to go for surgery, but I will recommend Dr. Mumtaz. He performs many of these procedures and has very good results.”
Dr. Hubbard was referring to Mubashir Mumtaz, MD, FACS, FACC, chief of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery and surgical director of the structural heart program at the PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute—and his recommendation aligned perfectly with Grant’s analysis.
“All my research said Dr. Mumtaz does more heart valve surgeries than anybody else in the state of Pennsylvania—and that’s who I wanted to have,” Grant says. “Most importantly, though, I trust Dr. Hubbard, and he recommended Dr. Mumtaz. That carried a lot of weight.”
Grant ultimately chose Dr. Mumtaz, a pioneer in minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery, for his aortic valve replacement. He underwent surgery at PinnacleHealth Harrisburg Hospital on July 22, 2015.
“Instead of performing open-heart surgery, we used an innovative method in which we accessed the heart through an incision in the right side of the chest, allowing us to avoid cutting bones, ribs and cartilage,” Dr. Mumtaz says. “Grant did quite well. He was home in five days and had an excellent recovery.”
Grant was pleased with the results of the procedure.
“Dr. Mumtaz knows what he’s doing, and he did a great job,” Grant says.
Returing to the Field
The late-July timing of Grant’s surgery was no accident—he wanted to be able to referee the opening matches of the high school varsity soccer season over Labor Day weekend. After completing cardiac rehabilitation in his hometown, he met his goal.
“Six weeks to the day after surgery, I was on the field in Danville with a high school boys’ soccer scrimmage in 93 degree heat,” Grant says. “I ran the first 40 minutes, then sat down and drank a bottle of water. I ran the next 40 minutes, and then we all gave high fives.”