Houghton Lake Heart Patient Explores the U.P.


Donald and Evelyn Moran spent a week this past fall exploring Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—a trip that wouldn’t have been possible for Donald had he not undergone a heart procedure at Munson Medical Center just a few weeks before their vacation.

“I feel great today,” said Donald, 88, who lives in Houghton Lake. “When we got to Tahquamenon Falls, I must have walked at least a mile there without stopping. Up and down. It would have been impossible – I wouldn’t have been able to do that – before my procedure.”

In September 2019, Donald was treated for the heart valve disease aortic stenosis. His cardiologist, Nicklaus Slocum, MD, FACC, FSCAI, of Traverse Heart & Vascular, performed the minimally-invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement, also known as the TAVR procedure.

Images of the TAVR procedure are below.






Watch Donald’s story in this MedWatch on 9&10 News, and read more about his journey below. Video courtesy of 9&10 News.

‘I was losing all kinds of energy’

For months, Donald had been struggling with feeling out of breath.

“Within the last six months, I was just losing all kinds of energy and I couldn’t walk very far without sitting down,” he said. “I could walk probably from my house to my mailbox and back. It didn’t just come all at once, but it proceeded to get worse and worse and worse.”

At his primary care doctor’s suggestion, Donald had been seeing heart specialists once a year for about two decades. 

“Not that anything was wrong,” Donald said. “I just got an annual stress test, and I always got a report.”

In recent years, there was growing concern that he wasn’t responding as well to the stress test. And then, about six to eight months ago, the shortness of breath and lack of energy began. That’s when he and Dr. Slocum began talking about TAVR.

‘I am right back ready to go’

Donald spent four days at Munson Medical Center for the TAVR procedure. Everything went well, he said.

“I had no pain whatsoever. All of the people who took care of me were fantastic. They were some of the nicest people, I tell you. I couldn’t tell you how good it made me feel,” he said.

Donald, who has been married to Evelyn for 65 years, is enjoying everyday life again. They have four children, 12 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

“I went back to doing my regular things—I drive the car, going here, going there,” Donald said. “We go to the senior center a lot and see our friends. To me, I am right back ready to go. I have an old car I put together in early 80s—a 1932 Ford—and I drive it all of the time. I was out there underneath it, fooling around, doing work … it didn’t slow me down. I’m back to normal, or close to it. I think a lot of it also depends upon your attitude.”

Know Your Heart

Early detection of heart and vascular conditions increases your chances of a healthy outcome. Listening to your body and talking with your primary care doctor and heart specialist, as Donald did through the years, are great steps in knowing your heart.

Learn more about your heart by taking our heart health assessment.

Our award-winning heart specialists are here to keep you going strong, wherever your life—and your heart—leads you. Your Munson Healthcare heart team has provided advanced heart care longer than any other team in northern Michigan, and we provide specialized care close to home.


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