Struve discusses his heart condition


Last month during a routine examination, Stephan Struve was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart. 'Skyscraper' was born with the condition, and it has affected him little to date, but at 25, he may never fight again.

Struve recently appeared on Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour, and related the moment he found out.

"A couple of weeks ago, almost a month ago now, they did an ECHO of my heart as a routine test," said Struve. "I was standing with a lady who was doing the test. She was nice and friendly. In the test, you can see your heart beating and your blood flowing. All of a sudden, she got a little quiet.

"‘Is something wrong,’ I asked. She said, 'I can’t tell. We need to ask the cardiologist to explain what’s going on.’"

The cardiologist had grim news.

"You may have a tear in the aorta, and you’ll have to go into surgery tonight, or you’ve got a leak in your aortic valve," said the doctor.

There were further tests.

"I had to get an MRI immediately to find out what was going on," said Struve. "You have to understand, I was scared as hell. I was thinking, 'Maybe I’ll have open heart surgery tonight.’ But everything was okay with the aorta. The only thing that was wrong was a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart."

"My heart was working at 70 percent. With medication, they’re trying to lower the blood pressure and get the leakage to become less than it has been, trying to get it back to 90 percent."

Struve has been told he needs his aortic valve replaced, which means a lifetime on blood thinners, a prescriptions that is not compatible with fight sports. However, he has not given up hope.

"There are a couple of options," said Struve. "There is an option that will probably allow me to keep fighting. A fighter in Glory, Mark Miller, had the same procedure and he came back from it."

"The first day they said, 'We’ll have to check this out, but your career is pretty much over.’ But I don’t believe this thing that I’ve had my entire life will end my career. There are still a couple of question marks."

"We’ll see what the medication does for my heart and the doctors will give their final view, and I’ll get the final answer on my career. The thing is, (the doctors in Holland) are not used to working with athletes. After they give their answer, we’re definitely going to the United States for a second opinion to see what is best so I can resume my career and live a healthy life."

"The UFC told me they’re going to get the best cardiologists, the best people to work with me, and that, of course, they’re going to cover all the expenses."

"The thing is, I may have to end my career, but they found it in time."

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Recent Comments »

DWray site profile image  

8/30/13 6:21 PM by DWray

I am 29 and three weeks ago had my mitral valve repaired. I live in Texas and traveled to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio since it's been rated the #1 Cardiology and Thoracic Surgery hospital in the United States for the last 18 years.They were phenomenal. It's not a fun process, I have a seven inch scar, but my health and young age has allowed me to bounce back [relatively] quickly. He would be even quicker I'd imagine.I'd love to talk to him about it if anyone has contact info. I tweeted at him just now actually.I literally had the best mitral valve surgeon in the country. I was beyond lucky. I'm not entirely certain if he's only involved in mitral valves as opposed to aortic valves, but it's worth checking into.

dermotfix site profile image  

8/30/13 6:08 PM by dermotfix

WAR Struve.Dana, give this man a referral.Maybe those wunderkidz in Germany can help him.

PrettyBoy site profile image  

8/27/13 10:56 PM by PrettyBoy

As much as I'd like to see him fight again, I'd rather he be healthy. Hope all goes well for the skyscraper.

Mihow site profile image  

8/27/13 6:17 PM by Mihow

Hope he lives super strong and healthy

Goat vomit site profile image  

8/27/13 5:14 PM by Goat vomit

That is some scary stuff. Until you have a heart issue you never know how you will re-act. I have a major heart attack two years ago mountain biking and was very lucky to survive. I got a few metal pieces in my heart and I am back riding hard as ever but that is not the same thing Struve is facing.....wishing him the best as anything that alters your life like this can, you find out quickly what your really made of.

gin and juice site profile image  

8/27/13 2:44 PM by gin and juice

Damn, I hope the best for Struve. He's a warrior

KidJustice site profile image  

8/27/13 2:41 PM by KidJustice

Dan Magnus a former PKA kickboxer in the 70/80s had the same condition and he came back to fight again. Dan is in his late 50's now and is still training pretty hard.

Pitbull3744 site profile image  

8/27/13 2:08 PM by Pitbull3744

STRUVE TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH!!!! You are the man bro dont worry about fighting right now just get well, im sure if you fight career is over you will still be able to makes lots of money coaching, seminars etc.  

garrote site profile image  

8/27/13 2:03 PM by garrote

Good on UFC for covering it.