Franklin Jackson had wanted a new heart valve since he was 87.
The McKean County man’s old aortic valve was covered with calcium deposits, making it impossible to fully open. As a result, Jackson’s heart had to work harder than normal to pump blood through his body.
“If I walked my dog around the house, I’d get short of breath,” said Jackson, 90, a retired contractor. “I haven’t been in my (woodworking) shop for four or five months. I just didn’t have the energy.”
The extra strain on Jackson’s heart over the years caused him to develop congestive heart failure, a life-threatening and incurable disease.
Jackson met with a UPMC Hamot heart surgeon in 2010 to discuss replacing his heart valve. But he said the surgeon told him that the risks of open-heart surgery on a man his age, and overall health, outweighed the possible benefits.
“So I figured I would have to live with what I had,” Jackson said.