At 102, Mich. man becomes one of the oldest to undergo heart procedure

The 102-year-old William Hagan has accomplished a lot in his years. He says wine, women and song are his secrets to a long life.

Even now, though, he's adding to his list of accomplishments. He's one of the oldest patients to undergo a major heart procedure.

Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital say his active lifestyle is what helped him become one of the oldest patients in Michigan to receive a new heart valve through a catheter.

"He sailed through the procedure," says Dr. William O'Neil, Medical Director of the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital.

"Usually when they do an aortic valve replacement, they have to cut the whole chest open. With this new procedure, they go through the femoral artery so it's not invasive," explains Kay Batterson, William's daughter. "So, it's a new, unique procedure."

William, who was born in the Upper Peninsula near Iron Mountain and retired from GM after 40 years danced five days a week well into his 90s. Always active, he participated in just about every sport in his younger years.

"I liked football; I liked basketball; I liked baseball. Anything that has to do with sports, I liked it," he says.

That active lifestyle coupled with a healthy diet and managing stress kept his veins and arteries pretty crisp and clear until recently. As is common with age, his aortic valve, which pumps blood from your heart to your body, was failing and he needed a replacement. 

While other hospitals turned him away due to his age, Dr. William W. O'Neill gave William the new heart valve option - because he's so young at heart.

"Nobody would really consider doing anything because of his age, but I met him and he was young at heart and vital, and wanted to be active. For those reasons I thought he'd be a very good candidate for a non-surgical way of fixing the aortic valve," Dr. O'Neill says.

"I can't tell you how grateful we are because they were willing to take my father, take a look at him as an individual person and they literally gave us our father. We can't be grateful enough," says Kay.

These days, the active 102-year-old is the life of the party at his assisted living home in Lansing, and is looking forward to turning 103 this August.

"I feel pretty damn good!" he says.