Mid-Michigan man to undergo clinical trial for new heart - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan man to undergo clinical trial for new heart

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A Mid-Michigan man is preparing to undergo a clinical trial for a new heart.

It's the personal connection he made more than two decades ago that is making him eligible for the procedure.

Bill Costanza never thought a modeling gig for a Michigan clothing company when he was younger would eventually be a life-saving decision.

"I got a bad valve, aortic valve. It supposed to have the opening the size of a quarter and it's just a little less than the size of a dime," Costanza said.

He thought he would need to have open heart surgery, but then he found out about a clinical trial at St. John Providence in Detroit.

"I'm going, 'man if you don't have to open my chest up, that'd be great,'" Costanza said.

During the minimally invasive procedure, known as the Medtronic Core Valve System, doctors use a catheter to guide the valve.

When learning more about this clinical trial, Costanza also learned he has a unique tie to the donor helping to make it happen.

"It just so happens that the gal that donated a large sum of money for the tests happens to own Carhartt and it just so happens that I did an ad for them back in '89," Costanza said.

He said he was chosen to model because he looked like Grizzly Adams.

"I was standing there afraid. That's what I was doing," Costanza said.

He was featured in the ads that celebrated the clothing company's 100th anniversary.

"At the time I didn't even know who Carhartt was and now Carhatt is cool," Costanza said.

While preparing to undergo a heart procedure is nerve wrecking, Costanza feels like he's in good hands.

"If I get picked for it maybe they'll take extra care of me because I was the guy," he said.

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