99-year-old KS man undergoes successful heart surgery

WICHITA, Kan. Heart surgery can be intimidating for almost anyone, but at the age of 99, one Kansas man says it was an easy decision to go through with it.

Pleasant, "P.E." Davis served his country in World War II and during that time of service in his youth, he lived by a philosophy he still lives by today.

"You don't live day to day. It's minute after minute," he says.

That philosophy helped him ahead of the decision to undergo heart surgery last month on the day before his 99th birthday.

"I said, 'I got nothing to lose. I'm 99 years old tomorrow,'" P.E. says.

Doctors say with P.E.'s case, there was a difficult decision to make. A surgery could add to his life and he's in good shape for 99, but the surgery comes with added risks with a patient that age.

P.E. "had a heart valve with significant narrowing," doctors say.

The standard of care would've been open-heart surgery, But with P.E., doctors opted for a minimally-invasive Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) where they go through the groin to access and replace the heart valve.

"This is done without general anesthesia," Dr. Baassem Chehab says. "The patient is awake and aware of what is going on. Very relaxed."

P.E.'s procedure lasted about 20 minutes. Within six hours, the near-centenarian was walking.

"He talked about World War II, Vietnam and Korea. I though our odds were pretty good," Dr. Brett Grizzell said of the prospect that P.E. would recover well from surgery.

The next day, P.E. participated in a Veteran's Day celebration. Timing made a difference in his case.

"It's very important to minimize the amount of secondary injuries and issues that patients that frail have when they're in the hospital," Grizzell says.

More than a month after his surgery, P.E. says he feels great and he's glad he went through with it.

"You either do and may catch a few more years, or don't do it and it's not going to get any better," he says.