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Patient: Minimally-invasive mitral valve procedure “a miracle” compared to open heart surgery

Lafayette Trawick, 77, had been putting off a checkup with his cardiologist when he noticed he was having more trouble than usual walking up and down his steep driveway to check the mail.

“I got to the point where I had to stop and I was getting some pains in my chest,” he explains.

A problem with his heart valve

He made an appointment and saw Steven Sigman, M.D., a cardiologist at Piedmont Heart.

“When he examined me, he said, ‘Oh boy, I hear something I don’t like,’” says Trawick.

Dr. Sigman admitted Trawick to the hospital that same day.

“One of my [heart] valves was totally loose and the blood was going back into the lungs,” says Trawick. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t walk. We had a problem.”

Trawick needed a procedure to repair his mitral valve.

Mitral valve surgery

Back in 2007, Trawick underwent open heart surgery for a different heart issue. He remembers the surgery as extensive and traumatic.

Fortunately, the appropriate treatment for repairing his mitral valve was a minimally-invasive procedure called MitraClip. It was FDA-approved for select patients in October 2013. The procedure was performed by interventional cardiologist Vivek Rajagopal, M.D. 

The recovery process after the MitraClip was much smoother than open heart surgery, he says.

“There’s no comparison,” says Trawick. “I’ve never seen a procedure like this that you could tell immediately after you wake up that you’re almost made whole holistically.”

Two months after the procedure, he says he has “never had a pain.”

“You’re talking about a miracle,” he says. “It’s totally the opposite of open heart surgery.”

To learn more, visit Marcus Heart Valve Center at Piedmont Heart Institute. 

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