Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute Replacing Heart Valves without Open-Heart Surgery

thaddeus mcvi patient

By the age of 12, Thaddeus Holmes had already endured four open-heart surgeries to address issues related to congenital heart disease. The Aventura resident was born with the left side of his heart smaller than his right, leading to a childhood filled with physical limitations, restrictions on exercise, and worry that heart and lung transplants might be required to survive.

“I was afraid of another open-heart procedure,” said the now 29-year-old Holmes. “As an adult, you’re much more aware of a recovery period that could last months, the time that you’d be out of work, and the disruption of the life you lead.”

But Holmes couldn’t outride his past, even though the avid cyclist gave it his best effort. When 15-20 mile bike rides he once did with ease became 1-2 mile struggles, he knew it was time to once again address his always tenuous cardiac health.

Holmes trusted his care to the Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute (MCVI) and learned the pulmonary valve pediatric surgeons had repaired more than two decades ago was now blocking the flow of blood and leaking, leading to shortness of breath and chronic fatigue. Finding out the valve could be replaced, using catheter-based technology and a minimally-invasive approach that in the past would have required open-heart surgery, was just the news the tech professional needed to hear.

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Datasource: Thaddeus and Dr. Ligon      

“Knowing I’d only be hospitalized for a day and would recover quickly at home put me in a good head space. It was a huge relief knowing I wouldn’t have to give up the things I loved to do,” said Holmes.

“The technology is really peaking where we can help people like Thad that have struggled with complex heart disease,” said Ronald Ligon, MD, one of the MCVI interventional cardiologists that perform the percutaneous valve procedure that changed Holmes’ life. “In his case, we were able to enter the body through the leg vessels and replace the pulmonary valve with a transcatheter that is wider and allows more blood flow, but also has leaflets that prevent blood from leaking backward.”

MCVI houses the only accredited adult congenital program in South Florida and specializes in non-invasive cardiac procedures. They can’t always correct problems without traditional surgery, but can often provide options patients didn’t know they had. “Our team of multidisciplinary specialists, using the latest technology, can improve the quality of life for congenital heart patients at whatever stage of life they’re at,” said Ligon.

For Thaddeus Holmes, a cardiovascular system that’s working efficiently has meant a return to the bike and the discovery of a new passion. “I was able to hike up a mountain in North Carolina and really loved being part of nature. Now I’m planning a trip to Tennessee so I can get back out there.”


Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute offers a full complement of services, including preventative, diagnostic, and treatment options tailored to each patient’s specific needs. It features an experienced team of board-certified cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, medical, and interventional cardiologists that are supported by knowledgeable staff and access to state-of-the-art equipment that help deliver the best possible outcomes. With its extraordinary medical expertise, advanced technology, and exacting quality guidelines, MCVI has earned a reputation for superior cardiovascular care. For more information, visit