Toms River Senior Gets Life-Saving Heart Valve Replacement at Newark Beth
Israel Medical Center in Newark
Donald Estelle felt just fine heading into a routine appointment with his
primary physician. However, the physician was troubled by what he heard
with a stethoscope and referred Donald to a cardiologist for further testing.
After undergoing an electrocardiogram (EKG), Donald received the shocking
news that his aortic valve was not opening adequately. And while this
was certainly a serious condition, the cardiologist felt that Donald didn’t
need to jump into surgery right away but would need to address it over time.
The time period came quicker than expected. Just a year later at his annual
cardiology check-up, the 76-year-old Toms River resident learned that
his condition had gone from serious to severe. Time was of the essence.
Donald was referred to cardiac surgeon Mark J. Russo, MD, Director, Center
for Aortic Diseases and Cardiothoracic Research, Barnabas Health Heart
Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, an RWJBarnabas
During the consultation, Dr. Russo explained that Donald’s aortic
valve was not functioning properly and needed to be replaced. “I
was shocked and scared and didn’t know what to say,” says Donald.
After a comprehensive evaluation and discussion with Donald, Dr. Russo,
a heart surgeon who performs both traditional open heart surgery and less-invasive
catheter-based procedures, recommended Donald undergo Transcatheter Aortic
Valve Replacement (TAVR).
TAVR is a minimally invasive treatment for severe aortic stenosis, regardless
of a patient’s age or comorbidities. It involves placing an artificial
tissue valve inside the diseased native valve via catheter, usually through
the groin. Recovery is minimal and patients often return home the next day.
Dr. Russo performed the successful TAVR procedure.
Donald’s wife Carol of 20 years is forever grateful to Dr. Russo.
“He took my husband’s life into his hands and made sure everything
was all right.” “I asked Dr. Russo to promise me that he would
bring back my husband walking and talking like I brought him in here.
Dr. Russo did a beautiful job – he’s my hero.”
Following the procedure, Donald does not have any limitations. “I
feel great and can’t ask for anything more,” he says.
“It was a miracle that my husband was able to be cared for by Dr.
Russo – he used his head and his heart,” notes Carol. “I
can’t praise Dr. Russo and the entire staff enough for the tremendous
care they provided to my husband and me. I would recommend Dr. Russo and
the staff to anyone.”
For more information about TAVR offered by the Barnabas Health Heart Centers, visit
barnabashealth.org/tavr or call