YOUR HEALTH: Repair, Don’t Replace Leaky Valves

A new, less invasive technique is repairing, not replacing leaky valves.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 4:20 AM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Your heart has four valves, which keep your blood flowing in the right direction. If one doesn’t work correctly, it can put you at higher risk for stroke or congestive heart failure. More than 182,000 people have a faulty valve replaced each year. But what if your replacement needs to be replaced? The surgery can be risky and even life-threatening. That’s why a new, less invasive technique is repairing, not replacing leaky valves.

Life’s a day at the beach for Sidney Baer and his wife Michelle now, but the last few years have felt more like a hurricane.

“I had a sudden death cardiac arrest. Thankfully, my wife was around the corner and was able to give me CPR,” Sidney recalled.

Baer had a quadruple bypass followed by more open-heart surgery to plug a leaky mitral valve.

“Every time the heart tries to pump the blood out of the heart into the big aorta, almost 30 to 40% of it is actually leaking through that valve,” explained Dr. Siddharth Wayangankar, Baptist Health interventional cardiologist.

That’s when Baer was faced with a third open heart surgery but repeat valve replacements can be risky.

“Basically, we were looking for something to avoid a third surgery, which to be honest with you, very few surgeons in the world would even consider it,” Dr. Siddharth mentioned.

Dr. Siddharth, usually referred to as Dr. Sidd, decided to repair and not replace Baer’s valve. He used an innovative technique called PVL closure to place a catheter in a small vein in the patient’s leg to deliver a plug that repairs the prior valve.

“We have to think out of the box, use out of the box tools to close them. It’s always good to have a plan A, plan B, plan C,” said Dr. Sidd.

The first two plugs didn’t work, so it was on to plan C.

“Finally, I had to use a bigger device that’s used in a little bit of a bigger kids to close the defect. And that worked great,” explained Dr. Sidd.

And thanks to Dr. Sidd, Sidney is getting stronger, and soaking up all that life has to offer.

“It’s a miracle that he’s alive,” said Sidney’s wife, Michelle.

Compared to a traditional PVL replacement surgery, the repair means less recovery time, lower risk of infection, a shorter hospital stay, and smaller incisions and scars.

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