UA heart surgeon saves patient twice - Tucson News Now

UA heart surgeon saves patient twice

(Source: UA College of Medicine) (Source: UA College of Medicine)
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A UA heart surgeon saved a patient's life for the second time, using a revolutionary new surgery.

Surgeon Michael F Teodori, MD first met Whitney Chase when she was 13-years-old. She had become critically ill due to a heart infection. Dr. Teodori replaced her infected heart valve with a donor valve.

Chase recovered and went on to build a life for herself, becoming a nurse practitioner, marrying and having a son. However, when she was pregnant with her second child she became ill, infection returned to her bloodstream, causing her to miscarry. The donor valve she had been given was failing, according to a news release.

Though Chase lives in Texas, she insisted on having her next surgery with the man who had saved her life 13 years ago, Dr. Teodori.

Dr. Teodori performed a surgery known as the Ross Procedure, used by only a few surgeons in the West.

"You reconstruct the person's aortic valve, with his or her own pulmonary valve so it is their tissue and it won't be rejected, " said Dr. Teodori.

By using this surgery, Chase can still conceive and continue building her family.

Chase's father, a captain with  the Phoenix Fire Department wanted to do something special for the man who had saved his daughter's life twice. So, the family personalized a fire helmet, with the doctor's name and the dates of the two surgeries and personal thanks from the family members, including Chase's 2-year-old son, Jeff.

"The fire helmet represents saving lives, and we felt it was the appropriate thing to show Dr. Teodori there is nothing more important than what he has done for our family," said Chase.

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