NBA Chicago Bulls’ Head Coach Fred Hoiberg Partners with On-X Life Technologies Inc. and for New Patient Education Campaign

Hoiberg Received On-X Aortic Heart Valve in 2015

HEALTHY AND HAPPY - Fred Hoiberg, Head Coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls, is launching a new campaign to help people with heart valve problems on Coach Hoiberg, pictured here with his family, wanted a single, life-long solution to his aortic heart valve problem, and received an On-X aortic mechanical valve from On-X Life Technologies, Inc. in April 2015. (L-R: Paige Hoiberg, Coach Fred Hoiberg, Carol Hoiberg, Jack Hoiberg, Sam Hoiberg, Charlie Hoiberg). (Photo: F. Hoiberg)

AUSTIN, Texas--()--Fred Hoiberg, Head Coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls, is launching a new patient education campaign featuring a video recounting his experience as a heart valve patient, which is premiering today on A 10-year NBA veteran who had played for the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Timberwolves, Hoiberg had open-heart surgery in April 2015 to replace his failing bicuspid aortic heart valve, a heredity structural malformation that had been causing increasing fatigue and shortness-of-breath.

The campaign, designed to help people with heart valve problems learn more about their condition and treatment options, is sponsored by On-X Life Technologies Inc., the company that made Coach Hoiberg’s aortic replacement heart valve. The full video is available here:

Hoiberg, who had an open-heart surgery a decade earlier to address life-threatening problems with an aortic aneurysm, was seeking a single, life-long solution to his aortic valve problem and agreed when his doctor recommended he receive an On-X Aortic Heart Valve.

“The On-X valve is expected to last throughout my lifetime, so I don’t have to worry about the possibility of future re-operations, which would have been likely if I’d received a tissue valve,” Hoiberg said. “I also didn’t want to put my family through all of the stress related to needing additional surgeries in the future.”

“Heart valve problems can be an issue for people of all ages, not just the elderly,” said Adam Pick, a heart valve surgery survivor and creator of the popular website. “As a leading patient advocacy website, we encourage people to pay attention to any symptoms, communicate with their doctor, and really take the time to understand the best treatment options for their condition.”

On-X Valves: Lower Medication, No Reoperation Worries

“Tissue valves last longer in older people and are less durable in younger people, and there are risks with every subsequent reoperation for valve failure,” said Dr. Marc Gerdisch, Chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Franciscan St. Francis Heart Center in Indianapolis.

“If Coach Hoiberg had, at his age and physical activity level, received a tissue valve instead of the On-X aortic heart valve, he’d likely have needed another one, and even another one after that during his lifetime,” Dr. Gerdisch said, adding that most tissue valves are documented to fail structurally in 15 years or fewer in patients younger than age 60.2

While some patients may choose replacement valves made of animal tissue in hopes of avoiding taking the blood-thinning medication warfarin, many patients also require warfarin therapy in order to manage their other health conditions, such as atrial fibrillation (AFib).3, 4

“I’ve heard that some people have concerns about taking blood-thinning medication after getting a mechanical valve, but it hasn’t been an issue for me. I’m very physically active, yet I haven’t had to make any major changes in either my activities or my diet because I’m taking blood-thinners,” said Hoiberg, who was named the new Head Coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls in June 2015.

Dr. Gerdisch added that patients with On-X aortic heart valves are the only ones in the U.S. who have been allowed by the U.S. FDA to reduce their blood-thinning medications to “near normal” levels.

“In a multi-year clinical study [1], we demonstrated that patients who had received an On-X aortic heart valve could be safely and effectively managed at much lower levels of blood thinner medication. Our findings showed that there are significant reductions in complications with the On-X valve when compared to any other valve, whether mechanical or tissue,”1 said Dr. Gerdisch, who also served as a Principal Investigator of the PROACT (Prospective Randomized On-X Anticoagulation Clinical Trial) study. “The On-X valve is a genuine innovation and the only mechanical valve that I implant.”

About the On-X Aortic Heart Valve

Approximately 200,000 patients worldwide have received On-X replacement heart valves, which are bileaflet prosthetic valves made of pure pyrolytic carbon. Clinical evaluations have shown that the On-X Aortic Heart Valve like the one Coach Hoiberg received features a unique material and design, which have been clinically documented to have lower complications than other mechanical heart valves. In 2015, the U.S. FDA published guidance allowing On-X Aortic Heart Valve patients to become the only mechanical valve recipients able to safely reduce their blood-thinning medications to “near normal” levels.

According to Clyde Baker, CEO for On-X Life Technologies, “We are very pleased to have Coach Hoiberg, who is extremely passionate about heart valve education, working with us on this patient awareness campaign. He’s young, active, an exceptional basketball coach and a great role model for demonstrating that heart valve disease doesn’t have to slow a person down; it’s all about patients making the right valve choice with their doctor for their lives.”

About On-X LTI

On-X Life Technologies Inc. (ON-X LTI) develops mechanical heart valve replacements that are designed to dramatically improve patients’ quality of life. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, ON-X LTI is a privately held company. Additional information is located at


  • For media, a downloadable advance copy of the video, as well as photos of Coach Hoiberg and his family, and his On-X aortic heart valve are available here:
  • The On-X PROACT (Prospective Randomized On-X Anticoagulation Clinical Trial) study affirmed that high-risk trial patients with On-X Aortic Heart Valves who reduced their regular blood-thinning medication dosage to maintain a lower INR of 1.5 to 2.0 and took a low-dose aspirin experienced a 65% overall reduction in bleeding events with no increase in stroke rate.1

1 Puskas J, Gerdisch M, Nichols D, et al. Reduced anticoagulation after mechanical aortic valve replacement: interim results from the Prospective Randomized On-X Valve Anticoagulation Clinical Trial randomized Food and Drug Administration investigational device exemption trial. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2014;147(4):1202-1211.

2 Johnston DR, Soltesz EG, Vakil N, et al. Long-term durability of bioprosthetic aortic valves: Implications from 12,569 implants. Ann Thorac Surg 2015;99:1239-47.

3 Oxenham H, Bloomfield P, Wheatley DJ, et al. Twenty year comparison of a Bjork-Shiley mechanical heart valve with porcine bioprostheses. Heart 2003;89:715–21.

4 Marchand M, MD, et al. 15 year experience with Mitral tissue valve. Ann Thorac Surg, 2001;71: 236-239.


On-X Life Technologies Inc.
Ida Yenney, 818-419-0516

Release Summary

Fred Hoiberg, Head Coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls, is launching a new educational campaign with a video recounting his experience as a heart valve patient, premiering today on


On-X Life Technologies Inc.
Ida Yenney, 818-419-0516