West Reading, PA. – Patients suffering from Mitral Regurgitation (MR) now have a new treatment option available at Tower Health – Reading Hospital. In November 2019 Reading Hospital performed the first MitraClip™ procedure in Berks County. This minimally invasive procedure can be an option for individuals who are not candidates for open-heart surgery to fully replace the mitral valve, due to risk of complications.
Mitral Regurgitation is caused when a mitral valve or the heart muscle is damaged and doesn’t seal completely. As a result, some blood leaks backward in to the left atrium of the heart. Symptoms of mitral regurgitation include fatigue, inability to exercise, decrease in appetite, shortness of breath, fainting, weight gain from fluid retention in feet, ankles, and lungs. If left untreated MR can worsen and lead to heart failure or death.
“Tower Health is pleased to provide an additional treatment option for patients suffering from Mitral Regurgitation,” said Eric Elgin, MD, Chief, Section of Cardiology at Reading Hospital. “We strive to continue to offer the latest technology for our patients so they can get back to living the life they love.”
The first patient to receive this treatment at Reading Hospital was Robert Doran from Berks County. Mr. Doran is 88 years old and was not a candidate for surgery to fix his MR. He suffered from shortness of breath, poor blood circulation, and didn’t have the physical strength to complete everyday activities, such as using stairs in his home. He tired quickly and could only complete one small task before needing to sit down to rest.
Mr. Doran first learned about MitraClip™ when he read about it in a healthcare publication. During a visit with his cardiologist, Jared Green, DO, Cardiology – Tower Health Medical Group, he asked more about it. “I was very excited when Dr. Elgin and Dr. Green shared that the procedure was available at Reading Hospital and that I was a candidate,” Mr. Doran said.
“The procedure typically takes two to four hours to complete,” Dr. Elgin explained. “Patients are placed under general anesthesia and we insert a catheter through a vein in the thigh to reach the patient’s heart. The MitraClip is guided through the catheter to the mitral valve in the heart. When the clip is in place blood flows in one direction on both sides of the clip and the catheter is removed.”
“I immediately felt stronger after the procedure,” Mr. Doran said. “I was up and walking the first day and only had to spend one night in the hospital and I’m now able to go up and down the steps with ease. At a follow-up appointment one month after I had the procedure, Dr. Elgin cleared me to travel to Florida for the winter and encouraged me to ride my bicycle while I was there. I would encourage others to consider the procedure. Dr. Elgin answered all of my questions and the nurses were attentive and caring.”