New minimally invasive heart valve procedure is changing lives at Baptist Heart Specialists
May 3, 2016 | Jacksonville, FL
Elizabeth Murray has always loved walking one to two miles a day. She even trained her pet parrots to join her with one on her shoulder and one on her arm. But she got to the point where she could barely breathe walking through a parking lot because of years of mitral valve prolapse.
The valves of the heart wouldn't close properly resulting in mitral regurgitation, where blood flows backward forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout her body.
"I couldn't even make the bed. I'd pull off a sheet and have to sit down. Everything took so much longer," said Murray, 66.
She couldn't afford to take three weeks off for open heart surgery since she's her husband's caretaker at home and she is a high-risk surgical candidate because of her chronic conditions so she was waiting for a minimally invasive alternative. That alternative came in March with Ruby Satpathy, MD, FACC, FSCAI, interventional cardiologist at Baptist Heart Specialists and the new Structural Heart director, who saw Mrs. Murray in Baptist's Heart Valve Clinic.
Dr. Satpathy performed at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville the MitraClip® therapy, a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure through the femoral vein in the groin for patients who are not good candidates for open-heart surgery because of their age, frailty or other complicating factors. Dr. Satpathy uses real-time imaging to help guide the catheter and clip into the heart. The clip holds together the valve leaflets to reduce the opening and lessen the regurgitation.
"There is no incision, the recovery time is less and patients stay in the hospital one or two days and have very good results," said Dr. Satpathy, who prior to coming to Baptist Heart Specialists was director of the Valve Clinic and Structural Heart Program at CHI Alegent Creighton Heart and Vascular Institute in Omaha, Neb. She was the first in Nebraska to perform numerous heart valve procedures with a catheter inserted through the femoral blood vessels instead of open-heart surgery. Dr. Satpathy performed Omaha's first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure in 2012 and Nebraska's first percutaneous mitral valve repair (MitraClip) in 2014.
Mitral regurgitation, the most common heart valve insufficiency in the U.S. affecting more than 4 million Americans, is a progressive disease that can be debilitating and even life-threatening where the mitral valve leaflets do not close tightly and can raise the risk of irregular heartbeats, stroke, and heart failure. Dr. Satpathy said patients often get short of breath, have leg swelling from the blood flowing backward into the heart and lungs and are not able to do the activities they did previously.
More than 25,000 people worldwide have been treated with the MitraClip device since the procedure started in Europe eight years ago and three years ago in the U.S.
"Patients can breathe better and enjoy their life," Dr. Satpathy said. "They can have a better quality of life and not face being admitted to the hospital for heart failure multiple times."
Two days in the hospital with no pain, Murray said she immediately went for a walk with her parrots when she got home. She's now walking a mile a day and is able to take care of her husband.
"It's beyond better. I don't know what I would have done without Baptist Heart Specialists," Murray said. "Dr. Satpathy is the kindest lady. I told her I had been waiting for her for so long."
Betty Sanders, 90, of Arlington, also had the MitraClip procedure in March. She has three children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She got out of the hospital on a Thursday and went to an Easter egg hunt with some of her great-grandchildren two days later. She also went dancing soon after for a friend's birthday. Prior to the surgery, she could hardly make her bed.
"I'm so happy. I'm doing really good," Sanders said. "Dr. Satpathy is a jewel. All the people who work at Baptist Heart Specialists are just so nice. They act like they have known you forever."
More than five procedures have been performed at Baptist Jacksonville in the last month with excellent results, Dr. Satpathy said, and more are scheduled over the next few weeks.
For more information on MitraClip or other heart valve procedures or the Baptist Heart Valve Clinic, contact Baptist's Structural Heart scheduler during business hours at 904.202.9500 and visit baptistjax.com/valve.