Dr. Arthur DeBoer Patient Story
Stories listed by procedure
Replace aortic valve
Aiden Covert
Dr. Arthur DeBoer
Bill Madden
Charles Cosgrove
Dick Pooley
Earl Morrison
Harold Rowley
Jack Eade
James White
Dr. Joe Phillips
Kenneth Dunjohn
Tom Price
Replace mitral valve
Earl Morrison
Mitral valve repair
Barbara Marsini
Brud Bavera
David Chesky

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Dr. Arthur DeBoer

As one of the pioneers in cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Arthur Deboer spent most of his life in the operating room. Although he had attended countless cardiac surgeries, this was his first time as the patient.

Born on a cattle ranch in Montana, Dr. Deboer pursued a career in medicine. He attended and received his surgical training at Northwestern University Medical School where he specialized in cardiovascular medicine. In 1951, Dr. Deboer was named the Chairman of Cardiovascular Surgery at Northwestern University Hospital, a post that he held for many years.

It was during this time that Dr. DeBoer often felt the distinct thrill on his chest, a familiar symptom that many of his patients have experienced. With his knowledge, it didn’t take much for him to realize that he was suffering from aortic stenosis. Earlier in his life, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur and misdiagnosed with mitral valve prolapse. However, because he never developed any severe symptoms, Dr. Deboer lived with the stenosis for 20 years.

In 2003, Dr. Deboer noticed that his condition had worsened upon exertion. He decided to consult his cardiologist. Although he was not incapacitated, he and his cardiologist were surprised to find that the aortic stenosis was quite severe. Once again, he opted to postpone surgery because he was not suffering from any pain or major symptoms. However, in the two years that followed, he began to develop severe shortness of breath with even the slightest exertion. He knew that the time had come for him to have his aortic valve replaced.

Dr. Deboer chose Dr. Patrick McCarthy — who had taken over his prior position as Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at Northwestern — as his surgeon. Dr. McCarthy chose the Carpentier-Edwards PERIMOUNT Magna aortic heart valve as the “prostheses of choice” for him.

Dr. Deboer was very familiar with Edwards valves. In fact, he implanted many of the original Starr-Edwards silastic ball valves and also had experience with porcine bioprostheses. Many years ago, he visited the Edwards’ facility to tour the manufacturing plant and meet some of the valve sewers.

In January 2005, Dr. DeBoer had his surgery, which he thinks went very well. When asked about his recovery, Dr. DeBoer said it was "better than expected." Two weeks after his surgery, he was feeling much better and  was able to get around quite well.  He realizes there have been significant advancements in technology since the last time he performed valve replacement surgery. He says patients who underwent this type of surgery in the past suffered much longer.

Dr. Deboer happily reports that the best part about his recovery has been the mental relief. He can now bale hay on his farm without worrying about “overdoing” it.

This information is not a substitute for talking with your doctor.