All Things Heart 2-8-24

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Todd Crawford, underwent aortic valve replacement in 2021, thoracic surgeon, The University of Kansas Health System

  • When Todd was 19, he went to the doctor for chest pains. His doctor referred him to The University of Kansas Health System for more tests.
  • They identified an abnormal aortic valve, meaning that blood was not flowing through the valve as it should and could lead to catastrophic issues.
  • Surgery was major and carried risks, but was necessary to correct the issue.
  • However, his surgery sparked a career path that would ultimately lead him to specialize in this very surgery, where he now performs it on patients on a regular basis at the University of Kansas Health System.
  • It is a congenital condition and he did find out that this same condition has been passed on to his young son.
  • Being a doctor who went through this, it's a unique connection you can make with patients not just before surgery, but when they're in the early phase of recovery.
  • When they're in pain, when emotionally or mentally they can be struggling with being a patient and trying to get back to what was their normal way of life, it is important to provide that reassurance that your doctor came back from this – that is really powerful for patients.
  • His wife, Tori, also in the medical field, was an incredible ally and supporter during the entire process.

Dr. Greg Muehlebach, thoracic surgeon, The University of Kansas Health System

  • With Todd’s surgery, they stopped his heart and blood flow for 18 minutes.
  • They do that by using hypothermia to reduce the metabolic demand of the brain and prevent injury associated with removing oxygen for a period of time.
  • It involves cooling the body through a specialized process.
  • Medication doesn't change the outcome of the valve, but medication can treat the other underlying factors.
  • Having a doctor who actually went through this is really important for patient trust.
  • We don't expect that people understand the intricacies of the operation that we're doing. We want to have that relationship with them that they understand that this is what we do every day -- this is our routine.
  • Getting them to understand that and then have that trust in you and the trust and the rest of the team is very important.