This patient is a 72-year-old woman who was profoundly short of breath. She couldn’t walk more than 10 metres without becoming exhausted and had to sleep upright at night, if she could sleep at all.
She had previously undergone open heart surgery and her main problem now was that she had a leaky mitral valve. She was also particularly frail, her heart function was poor and traditional open heart surgery was really not an option.
We were very concerned about her chances of getting through an operation like that with a meaningful quality of life afterwards.
Thankfully, we have a new technology we could offer which is keyhole repair of the mitral valve by placing a catheter through the vein in the groin and then crossing into the left side of the heart and correcting the mitral valve that way.
We’re able to position a clip exactly where the leak is occurring and where the leaflets are not meeting, and clip the leaflets together so that we can stop the leak.
In this patient, just applying a single clip stopped the leak to a very significant degree.
She woke up immediately after the procedure. In fact, the first night after the procedure she said was the first night she could sleep through the night without shortness of breath, and the first night she could sleep flat without sitting up.
A week after the procedure the transformation was remarkable, beyond our expectation. She went from being able to only walk 10 metres to being able to walk for 10 minutes.