Mechanical Valve and Pacemaker Give Kelly More Energy than He's had in a Decade

On Feb. 14, 50-year-old Kelly Boone had a mechanical valve and a pacemaker surgically inserted. But, why? Kelly had always been healthy. He had no cholesterol problems. He had no blood pressure issues.

As it turns out, the Goshen resident was born with a bicuspid aortic valve.

A bicuspid valve is an aortic valve that only has two leaflets, versus three. “I had no issues, other than the fact that I got stuck with a bum valve,” Kelly jokes. 

“I’d Wake up Absolutely Exhausted”

While it’s something he can joke about now, prior to surgery, Kelly spent nearly the past eight years suffering from extreme lethargy and sleep apnea; he’d wake up almost every day feeling “absolutely exhausted,” he says.

Symptoms started in the spring of 2007, when Kelly landed in the Bethesda North Emergency Department after a severe chest pain episode. During his overnight stay he met Puvi Seshiah MD, of the TriHealth Heart Institute, who was the attending cardiologist. Dr. Seshiah and Kelly's primary care doctor, Mathew Simon DO, of Bethesda Group Practice – Milford, have been monitoring Kelly ever since. 

Kelly knew all along that eventually his bicuspid valve would wear out and he'd need to get it replaced, but toward the end of 2013, he hit his tipping point. His energy was at an all-time low – and kept getting worse.

He was ready for surgery. So Dr. Seshiah referred Kelly to Steven Park MD, a thoracic surgeon at the Heart Institute. From there, Kelly went through several educational meetings with each doctor to prepare him for both surgery and what to expect in terms of recovery.

Life Post-Surgery: Kelly Hasn’t Looked Back

Kelly went in for surgery on Feb. 14, 2014 at Good Samaritan Hospital to have a mechanical valve and pacemaker inserted. The valve was done minimally invasively without sternotomy (sternotomy involves cutting through the breast bone and opening the ribs), which made his recovery significantly faster than what it would have been for traditional heart surgery. 

In fact, when asked if he could describe his experience in one word, his response was simply: “phenomenal.”

“It was an unbelievably good experience. It really, really was,” Kelly says. “My wife, Rhonda, stayed with me the whole time and they treated us like kings and queens. It was really something.”

While the hospitality and compassion of his care team was evident, he says the seamless teamwork is what stood out above everything.

Kelly took the recommended 12 weeks off work to recover, and now he’s happy to be back to work and in his routine. “I fish quite a bit – as a tournament angler. I fish at any place that’s got water big enough to stick a boat in it,” he laughs.   

His doctors say it typically takes a year for someone to feel 100 percent. But, even now, a little more than four months post-surgery, Kelly says he’s already noticed dramatic improvements in terms of his energy levels, especially because he’s been able to sleep. “I feel better, by far, than before the surgery. There’s no question in my mind it was the right thing to do,” he points out. "I had complete confidence in Dr. Seshiah and Dr. Park. I never had a second thought as to whether I had the right people working on me." 

Tags Heart

Last Updated: May 14, 2014