A 97-year-old Hudson Valley woman has become the oldest person to undergo a transcatheter aortic valve replacement in Good Samaritan Hospital history.

In 2018, Rita Callan started having difficulty breathing and was admitted to Good Samaritan in Suffern, where Dr. Rajiv Singh diagnosed her with an irregular heart rhythm and a leaky heart valve. Dr. Singh performed an electrical cardioversion, which got Rita’s heartbeat back to normal.

Callan lived an active lifestyle until April 2021, when she began dealing with shortness of breath again.

What You Need To Know

  • Rita Callan, 97, is the oldest transcatheter aortic valve replacement patient at Good Samaritan Hospital

  • Good Samaritan Hospital is the only hospital in Orange and Rockland counties to perform this type of heart surgery

  • Callan is back to her normal life, aside from driving at night

"At that point, it was noted that she had lived long enough to wear out one of her other valves. We'd be on the process for discussing how that could be replaced, even, at age 97," Singh said.

According to Singh, Callan was the type of patient who would benefit from the valve replacement surgery and her age didn’t put her more at risk. That surgery was successfully performed this past September.

Callan says she is still able to drive, but not at night, and she does her own shopping and cleaning. She also found a new passion along the way - painting. She said her secret to a long life is enjoying people.

"I've always been very active ... I had a great husband. I have wonderful children and grandchildren," said Callan.