Open Heart Surgery now alternative way
Herndon was one of the first patients in the United States to have the mitral clip procedure. First, interventional cardiologists inserted a catheter into her groin up into the mitral valve. Next, a clip was fed through. The clip grasped and tightened the valves' leaflets, preventing blood from leaking.
"By pulling them together and approximating them, it reduces the leakiness," Dr. Hanzel said.
The clip stays and keeps blood from leaking, and the catheter is removed. The procedure takes two hours, the same as for open-heart surgery. The difference is in the recovery -- down from months to just weeks.
"Patients typically say they feel better," Dr. Hanzel said. "They can breathe better. They can do more without having to stop and rest."
Herndon's mitral regurgitation was reduced from severe to trivial, and she's back looking for bargains again. "I always did love to go shopping," Herdon said.
The mitral clip procedure is good for patients who have a weak heart and may not make it through traditional surgery. The procedure is being investigated in clinical trials in 38 hospitals across the country.