A daughter’s job and a dad’s heart

Katie Kristof works at Edwards Lifesciences, maker of the heart valve that saved her father’s life.

Katie Kristof works at Edwards Lifesciences, maker of the heart valve that saved her father’s life.

Two years ago, USC Dean of Accounting Bill Holder was winded just walking across campus.

Now he’s back on his boat, fishing for 200-pound bluefin tuna out on the open waters.

He gives all the credit to his new heart valve.

Holder was one of the first people in America to get an Inspiris Resilia aortic valve from Edwards Lifesciences, which has its global headquarters in Irvine.

The company created its first heart valve 60 years ago. Ever since, it’s been improving the technology that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.

Thanking the team

Holder, 75, says the heart valve has given him a second lease on life.

“I golf and I fish, and this gives me the confidence that I’m not going to get out there and have some huge problem,” he says.

One year after his surgery, Holder was invited to Edwards’ annual Patient Experience, where he got to meet the team that made his valve.

“It was emotional, really special,” he says — especially because one of the team members was his daughter.

A family affair

Katie Kristof, 34, recalls seeing her father just before his open-heart surgery.

“It was a surreal moment,” she says. “But I was comforted knowing that my father was being treated and monitored with Edwards technology.”

The valve that Holder received is made with advanced technology that is designed to last years longer than earlier valves.

“This technology is nothing short of a miracle,” he says. “The procedure gave me a newfound appreciation of how precious my time is. Being able to watch my children and grandchildren continue to grow, develop and flourish is a tremendous gift.”

Edwards hasn’t stopped improving its technology either. Just last month, the company announced the approval of another new heart valve, which is designed to make very complex procedures simpler.

Holder’s daughter couldn’t be happier.

“The sense of pride that I felt seeing my work being used to save my father’s life was incredible,” she says. “I cannot imagine a more rewarding career than that at Edwards.”