Avera Medical Minute: Mitraclip procedure helps Marshall Minnesota man suffering from leaky heart valve

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 12:42 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

A strong heart and good blood flow is something Larry Schumann doesn’t take for granted. He noticed something wrong while shoveling last winter.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks I couldn’t breathe I couldn’t do anything,” said Schumann.

His symptoms continued.

“Just fatigued. I couldn’t eat and I started losing weight too,” said Schumann.

That’s when Larry went to see North Central Heart Institute Cardiologist Dr. John Wagener.

“Larry was a great guy, he came to us because his heart muscle wasn’t working in his valve was very leaky,” said Dr. Wagener.

The trouble breathing and exhaustion was not a surprise after understanding what was happening inside of Larry’s heart.

“Instead of blood going forward to your brain into your kidneys and making you feel good, it goes backwards into your lungs and causes health heart failure symptoms. You can have swelling in your lower extremities, you can feel fatigued because blood you know is not going to your body when you need it to,” said Wagener.

But there are ways to help when a heart valve is not fully closing when it should.

“The mitraclip is a way where we can help bring the two leaflets of the valve together so it shuts appropriately,” said Wagener.

“I was all for it because I, First of all, I didn’t want them cutting me open and I was all for anything and so far it’s worked good,” said Schumann.

So how does a mitraclip help the mitral heart valve properly close, and still allow blood to flow through?

“If you think of your mitral valve-like your lips, it has two leaflets, so your top lip in your lower lip and what we do is the mitraclip is similar to a clothespin, and we clip the middle of the leaflets together like this and your mouth. And so the middle part of the valve comes together, prevents the leakiness and then blood can still open or get through the valve by on each side of the leaflets,” said Wagener.

“It was painless. I mean that’s what I like the only thing that hurt was the IV,” said Schumann.

“It’s a surgery where we do it through a vein in the leg, and the device goes up into the heart,” said Wagener.

With Larry’s heart valve functioning normally, the blood goes where his body needs it.

“I used to walk around like in a cloud and that’s gone,” said Schumann.

The mitraclip procedure usually requires an overnight stay. Larry was back to work in a week.

“That’s the beauty about cardiology and interventional cardiology is you can see real-time you know changes and how a patient feels and how well they do you know right in front of your eyes,” said Wagener.

“I’m a testament to it. It helped. It just makes you feel better,” said Schumann.

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