Josephine Schultz: Mending a kind heart
Compassion and kindness flow freely from the heart of Josephine “Josie” Schultz. She is an active 83-year-old retiree who keeps busy caring for her husband Thomas, her expanding family, and her community. Her volunteer activities are never-ending: she volunteers with Thomas at the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carnegie twice a week and has been doing so for 18 years. She helps run the bingo program at the senior living community where she and Thomas live. She is a member of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Christian Mothers chapter and helps out with the annual Lenten Fish Fry. Wherever there is a need in her community, Josie is likely to be there, eager to help. In 2002, she retired from a longtime job with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, but she never slowed down.
In January of last year, however, Josie began to feel a little different. She could no longer walk the circuit around the mall, and she became short of breath with exertion. She was under the care of cardiologist Robert N. Shogry, M.D. and had had a successful stent placement years ago. She was aware that she had aortic stenosis, and Dr. Shogry kept close tabs on it, monitoring her cardiac health with regular echocardiograms. In June, he informed her that the stenosis had worsened and it was time to intervene. He referred her to Andy C. Kiser, M.D., FACS, FACC, FCCP, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, at St. Clair.
“Dr. Kiser did a lot of tests on me and told me about TAVR; interventional cardiologist Dr. Ryan Zuzek M.D., FACC came in during my tests and introduced himself to me. Dr. Kiser explained that he and Dr. Zuzek and a whole team of doctors would meet to discuss my test results; they were considering whether open heart surgery or TAVR would be best for me. When they told me that I could have the TAVR procedure, I was happy because I had been praying for that. Dr. Kiser said that he and Dr. Zuzek would do it together.”
Josie was designated a ‘low-risk’ patient: she was physically active and able to fully perform activities of daily living. She had no serious medical conditions that might complicate the procedure. She had the TAVR procedure on August 8 at St. Clair and was home the following day, after a pre-discharge echocardiogram and EKG showed that her new valve was working. “It went quickly and I did well; I felt no pain at all. My daughter, Angie, came to stay with me for a few days when I came home. I saw Dr. Kiser two weeks later and he was pleased with my recovery.”
Josie feels great; she no longer gets short of breath and she’s enjoying her life again, including the cooking and baking that she loves. She plans to travel to New York and St. Louis to visit her children and grandchildren (seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren) and to resume her volunteer activities. “I’m grateful to Dr. Kiser and Dr. Zuzek for the TAVR procedure. Both are fantastic doctors. Dr. Kiser told me that I was a very good patient and he was proud of me. Well, maybe I was a good patient, but he was a good doctor — a very good doctor. Thanks to him and Dr. Zuzek, I’m healthy and I’m looking forward to being active again.”
ANDY C. KISER, M.D., FACS, FACC, FCCP
Dr. Kiser is Chief of Cardiac Surgery at St. Clair Hospital. He earned a B.S. in biology with honors and distinction, and a medical degree with honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He subsequently completed a residency in general surgery there, as well as fellowships in cardiac and thoracic surgery. From 2011 to 2016, he served as the Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was also the Byah Thomason-Sanford Doxey Distinguished Professor of Surgery. Dr. Kiser then served as the J. Mark Williams Distinguished Professor in Cardiac Surgery, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, and the Director of Cardiovascular Surgical Services at East Carolina Heart Institute, which is affiliated with East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina. In May, 2018, Dr. Kiser earned an MBA degree from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, also part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Kiser practices with St. Clair Medical Services.
RYAN W. ZUZEK, M.D., FACC
Dr. Zuzek earned his medical degree at the National University of Ireland in Galway. His postgraduate training includes an internal medicine residency at the Cleveland Clinic, where he was later an attending physician. He then completed cardiology and interventional cardiology fellowships at Brown University hospitals in Providence, R.I. Dr. Zuzek is board-certified in internal medicine, general cardiology, interventional, and nuclear cardiology. He practices with US Heart and Vascular, P.C.