NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Jack Betteil has a long history of survival. The 95-year-old was 16 when World War II broke out. He was sent to six concentration camps before being freed in Austria.
"They took away my parents right away. My uncles, my aunts—everybody was sent to Auschwitz," he said. "I had a strong will to live and part of my makeup was humor."
The Holocaust survivor was saved back then and a second time earlier this year. He was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, a condition that doctors say can be deadly if left untreated.
Open-heart surgery wasn't an option because of his age, so Dr. Bruce Rutkin opted for a catheter-based approach.
"So TAVR—trans-catheter aortic valve replacement—is essentially a type of valve that can be crimped or placed into a catheter and we can deliver a new valve placing it right in their existing valve without removing it and without opening the chest," Dr. Rutkin said, "giving them a new functioning valve through a very minimally invasive technique.
Doctors say a normal artery is in the range of 2 to 4 centimeters. A new valve made of metal with leaflets from a pig's heart was implanted. They open and close with every beat to restore normal blood flow.
Jack enjoys carving Native American art and making his own jewelry. He says feels like he is 65.
"I'm 95, I'm ready to go, and here Dr. Rutkin put something in my heart and I'm alive again," Betteil said. "I'm looking forward to living to be at least 100."
That is because his barber promised him a free haircut and he won't give up the appointment.