Former Irontonian undergoes experimental heart surgery

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

At 87 years old, Clara “Annie” Hayes, of West Chester, formerly of Ironton, is on the go and drives wherever she wants to go.

She works in her flower garden, cooks, shops, plays cards and does a lot of things with her daughter.

“I keep busy and I go wherever I want to,” she said. “I don’t stay still very much.”

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But, she did not always feel that good.

She became short of breath while walking up stairs, unsteady on her feet, and her family said she was noticeably pale.

The diagnosis: aortic stenosis — hardening of the aortic valve in the heart.

“A lot of people have open heart surgery with this,” Hayes said. “But I wouldn’t go for that. You know when they do that open-heart surgery they crack your chest open, and I chose not to do that. I had no inkling or no idea that I had this problem. But I finally accepted it.”

So, she became the first recipient of a clinical trial study called radiation following

percutaneous ballon aortic valvuloplasty to prevent restenosis, in short, RADAR.

The objective of the RADAR trial is to determine the impact of external beam radiation therapy following valvuloplasty, also known as balloon catherization, in elderly patients, reports

Hayes was the first patient in the national study to see the effectiveness of the procedure. Patients must be at least 75 years old to have the procedure.

Dr. Dean Kereiakes performed the valvuloplasty procedure on Sept. 10 at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.

“With this they hope it will keep scar tissue from forming and it will last longer,” Hayes said. “I sure do praise Dr. Kereiakes.”

The day after the valvuloplasty, Dr. Rodney Geier performed the radiation treatment.

Hayes was only in the hospital for three days and the only restrictions were lifting and bending over — but only for a short time.

Within a week, she was back doing all the things she enjoys.

“The color of my face came back and my children noticed it first,” Hayes said. “You see what happens is that you don’t get enough oxygen. I’m not so short of breath as I was.”