WHB’s popular morning sports talk host Steven St. John is pretty upbeat for a guy who will learn next week if he will have to undergo open heart surgery in the near future.
St. John, 39, told Bottom Line that about two years ago he was experiencing shortness of breath and found himself getting tired easily. His wife told him to get checked out, and after an overnight hospital stay, he found his heart was slightly enlarged and he was one of 1-2% of all people who have a bicuspid aortic valve.
A bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is most commonly a congenital condition of the aortic valve where two of the aortic valvular leaflets fuse during development. It is twice as common in males as in females.
At some point St. John will need to have a pig or mechanical valve inserted to help the blood flow to his heart. BAV is an inherited condition and he plans on having his 15-year-old athlete son tested.
“I get checked every 6 months until they tell me it’s time for surgery,” he says. ”I must have open heart surgery and valve replacement at some point.”
St. John boxed as a cruiserweight/heavyweight in 1995-96 with one pro fight and jokes that he might have been a champion if not for the heart issue.
“At least that explains why I have never been able to run long distances,” he says. Actually, he was a recent UMKC graduate with a baby on the way and felt it was time to give up boxing.
St. John, who joined WHB-810AM 13 years ago and has been part of the morning “Border Patrol” team (6-10 a.m.) since 2006, says he exercises and watches his diet. He is basically realistic about his situation.
”I’m blessed with a great family and wonderful friends…I consider myself lucky,” the father of four says.