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Stefan Struve Diagnosed With Leaking Aortic Valve, Enlarged Heart; Career on Hold Indefinitely


(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

One of the most dependably exciting fighters in the UFC heavyweight division is taking some time off to address a rather serious health condition. As first reported on last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, 25-year-old Dutchman Stefan Struve was recently diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart, and was hospitalized for a week to undergo testing. Struve will be completely out of action for the next two months as doctors treat the condition with medication and determine the best course of treatment.

Struve’s manager Lex McMahon released a statement to MMAFighting, providing more info on “Skyscraper”‘s health status:

The doctors found that Stefan has a bicuspid aortic valve, wich means that his aortic valve only has two leaflets, instead of three. The aortic valve regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta, the major blood vessel that brings blood to the body. In combination with the enlarged heart it causes his heart to only pump 70 percent of the blood into the aorta and then the rest of his body, and the remaining 30 percent ends up back in the heart chamber.

After consulting experts in both Holland and the United States, it was decided to treat the condition with medication for the next two months and asses the effectiveness of that treatment protocol. After those 2 months, the doctors will have an answer on what the best treatment options are.

At the direction of his doctors, Stefan has now been released from the hospital and has resumed light cardiovascular exercise. Stefan fully appreciates the significance of the condition he has been diagnosed with, however, he is optimistic about the eventual outcome and fully plans on living a long, healthy, active, happy life and eventually returning to competition in the octagon for his quest to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Stefan loves the UFC and plans on being involved with company as a fighter and ambassador for years to come. Stefan wants to thank all the fans who have supported him thus far in his career as well as the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, Joe Silva, Dr. Jeff Davidson, the entire staff of the UFC, and his fellow fighters for affording him the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage of the sport of MMA, as well as a tremendous degree of support during this trying time. In particular Stefan wants to thank Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, & Joe Silva for immediately getting engaged with this issue and providing Stefan access to the best possible medical care. Stefan will be sharing his experiences as he deals with this medical condition in the hopes that he can serve as a role model by helping to create awareness and inspire others to fight through adversity.”

As Struve himself tweeted late last night, “Thanks for all the well wishes, and giving up is not an option for me. I’m gonna do everything possible to get back to fighting!” If you want to send him some well-wishes, please do so @StefanStruve.

Struve last competed in March at UFC on FUEL: Silva vs. Stann, where he suffered a jaw-shattering TKO loss against Mark Hunt, snapping a four-fight win streak.

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