Ford ‘feeling great’ after rare heart procedure


“This was their last try,” Hillsboro resident Helen Ford said of a recent medical procedure that saved her life.

She said that she was the first patient in Cincinnati to receive the Edward Sapien XT valve.

WKRC-TV previously reported that the valve, now in Ford’s heart, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for another part of the heart, but not for the part that Ford needed.

“My old valve of 17 years … was not functioning. That is why I was really, really sick,” Ford told The Times-Gazette.

She added that prior to the procedure – called a transcatheter mitral valve replacement – two other attempts to fix the issue had been unsuccessful.

WKRC-TV reported that the valve-in-valve procedure has been done in about 130 cases worldwide. This was the first for Dr. Puvi Seshiah, the doctor Ford was referred to when her heart began to fail.

According to WKRC-TV, Seshiah “used a tube called a catheter and inserted a valve inside the one that was torn.”

Afterward, Ford said doctors “were thrilled” with the positive results. She added that she felt “very honored” to be the first local patient to undergo this new procedure.

Ford also said that she was the “perfect candidate” for this procedure because she already had the mitral valve.

She added that the procedure was done at the Good Samaritan Hospital and that a “whole team of doctors (from TriHealth Institute) … planned it all out.”

“They were the ones that really saved my life,” she said. The doctors, she added, were a group of heart specialists.

The procedure occurred on June 5. “I either did this or there wasn’t anything else I could do,” she said. “I had complete faith in what they were going to do.

“I really wanted to go ahead with it,” she added. “I had a choice, and I said, ‘Yes, I want to go ahead with it, definitely.’”

Ford said that her family was also supportive of the procedure. They have since “been very happy and wonderful to help me,” she said.

Ford, a retired kindergarten teacher at Hillsboro City Schools, said that she has also seen “a lot of support from all the people in Hillsboro that I appreciate very much.”

And while Ford said “it’s been a rather long recovery,” she added that she is “getting along fine.”

“I’m feeling great,” she said.

Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.

Helen Ford Ford
Hillsboro woman is first local patient to undergo special operation

By Sarah Allen

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