I consider myself a very lucky lady. At 89 years-old, I still live independently, garden, play bridge regularly with my friends, and visit my children and grandchildren. It is safe to say that I am physically active.
Three years ago, I began experiencing symptoms of a common, yet serious, condition. Going up and down stairs, I couldn’t breathe and would become lightheaded and terribly tired. I had to quit working in my yard and going for daily walks. My cardiologist told me to “live with it.”
I decided to see a new cardiologist, who found that my heart valve was “leaking.” The condition is actually called degenerative mitral regurgitation, or DMR. DMR is caused when the leaflets of the mitral valve do not close completely, allowing blood to flow backward and leak into the left atrium of the heart. A leaky heart valve can increase the pressure on the heart and, over time, cause heart failure.
My new cardiologist recommended treatment with a medical device called MitraClip since open heart surgery was not recommended for me. He told me that it could treat my leaky heart valve by clipping together the leaflets, helping my heart work more efficiently. He said the procedure was a minimally-invasive option in which the doctor would use a catheter to implant the device through a vein in my leg.
My doctor said I would feel better, and I did. The procedure took about 60 minutes, and within 48 hours, I was back home, feeling good again. If I hadn’t had this procedure, I’d probably be in a nursing home. That's the difference. I'm doing much better, and I’m really living my life.
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