Published on March 11, 2020

New Procedure Fixes McCartney’s Heart Issue

picture of Patrick McCartney and Dr. TaltonTUPELO, Miss.—Last spring Patrick McCartney noticed he was often short of breath, but he dismissed it. However, at his checkup in March 2019, his doctor did not.

“He listened to my heart and he even let me listen to it,” McCartney says. “He didn’t even finish his exam. He told me, ‘you need to see a cardiologist.’” A few days later Murray Estess, M.D., diagnosed McCartney with mitral regurgitation. The mitral valve is located between the heart’s two left chambers and has two flaps of tissue, called leaflets, that open and close to ensure that blood flows in only one direction. When this valve fails to close completely, blood leaks backward inside the heart, causing mitral regurgitation. “Mine was doing just the opposite of what it was supposed to do,” says the 67-year-old from Woodland. Left untreated, this extra burden on the heart and lungs can cause more serious problems like heart failure.

Dr. Estess referred McCartney to cardiothoracic surgeon David Talton, M.D., who often performs open-heart surgery to fix the mitral valve. But some patients—like McCartney—are not a candidate for surgery because of other health issues. Dr. Talton told the McCartneys about a new, less-invasive treatment option called transcatheter mitral valve repair using MitraClip. “He showed us the clip and it reminded me of a very small clothespin,” McCartney says.

Dr. Talton explained that unlike surgery, the MitraClip procedure does not require opening the chest and temporarily stopping the heart. Instead, he would access McCartney’s mitral valve with a thin tube called a catheter that is guided through a vein in his leg to reach the heart. The MitraClip device is then attached to the mitral valve and allows it to close more completely, helping to restore normal blood flow through the heart.

On June 11, 2019, McCartney became the second patient to undergo the MitraClip procedure at NMMC. “The doctor said it only took about 20 minutes and went ‘textbook perfect,’” McCartney says. “I was instantly cured. I felt like I did before this started. The MitraClip is a miracle thing.” McCartney spent one night in the hospital and recovered quickly. “I got my breath back,” McCartney says. “It was wonderful.”

For more information, call Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery Clinic at (662) 377-7170 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

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