Phil Can Breathe Freely Thanks to the MitraClip!
By Adam Pick on August 1, 2019
The patient story of Phil Yalowitz is very personal for me.
A retired urologist, who spent many years practicing at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Phil is my dad’s cousin. So you know, my dad and Phil grew up together on the south side of Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s to pursue their interest in medicine. Phil and my dad had a special bond. They acted and laughed together like brothers, so I always considered Phil my uncle.
Phil Yalowitz (MitraClip Patient)
Over the past 10 years, Phil has struggled with heart disease. Initially, Phil required cardiac surgery to address atrial fibrillation. Then, Phil developed severe mitral valve regurgitation.
“At night, in bed… I felt like I was suffocating,” Phil shared with me. “It’s been really hard to catch my breath. I knew I needed something done.”
After a significant amount of research, Phil investigated the possibility of having a MitraClip procedure. As you may know, a MitraClip is unique form of transcatheter mitral valve repair, also known as TMVR. The MitraClip is a non-invasive procedure that requires no trauma to the patient’s sternum or ribs. The “clip” pins the defective mitral valve leaflets together to reduce the regurgitation.
I’m happy to report that this Tuesday, Phil had a successful, double MitraClip procedure performed by Dr. Steven Burstein, an interventional cardiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital associated with Keck Medicine of USC.
Dr. Steven Burstein (Interventional Cardiologist)
According to Phil, Dr. Burstein is a MitraClip specialist having performed over 100 MitraClips in 2017 and over 150 MitraClips in 2018. “You should look him up,” Phil said to me on the phone yesterday, “Dr. Burstein is a super talented doctor, very kind and very attentive.”
How is Phil Doing After the MitraClip?
Here’s the great news… Phil is doing incredibly well after his MitraClip procedure!
The procedure was performed on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday morning, Phil was discharged from the hospital. Yes, you read that right! I’m not great at math. But, I think Phil was in the hospital for less than 24 hours!
Reflecting on the MitraClip procedure, Phil said to me, “I woke up and I could breathe! There was instant relief. I used to feel smothered. Now, I feel like I’m breathing fresh air for the first time in years. The MitraClip is very impressive. Granted, it’s only been a day. But, I’m very optimistic!”
Phil continued to share that he actually received two MitraClips during the procedure to minimize the mitral regurgitation which was causing blood to leak backwards into his heart. “I understand that up to 4 MitraClips can be placed during a procedure. For my valve, Dr. Burstein needed to only use two MitraClips. It’s quite amazing. Dr. Burstein used real-time echocardiography to evaluate the performance of each clip placed in my heart.”
To give you some perspective on the size and placement of the MitraClip, here’s a picture to consider:
The MitraClip: Size & Placement in Mitral Valve (Source: Abbott)
And… To help you see how the MitraClip procedure works, here is a video animation:
Go Phil! Go Dr. Burstein! Go MitraClip! Go Abbott!
I am so thankful to hear that my Uncle Phil had such a great experience with Dr. Burstein, the MitraClip and his medical team. It really was amazing to hear the difference in Phil’s voice and vigor before-and-after the procedure. I hope the rest of Phil’s recovery is smooth and uneventful.
I am also so thankful to Abbott, the manufacturer of the MitraClip, for helping so many patients in our community with the MitraClip device. I’m so hopeful the MitraClip will continue to help mitral valve patients, heart failure patients (thanks to the COAPT trial), and tricuspid valve patients (in the TriClip clinical trial).
To learn more about the MitraClip, here is additional information to help you:
- Discover the MitraClip Education Center
- MitraClip Patient Story: Michele is Off the Heart Transplant List!
- MitraClip Patient Story: Charlotte Walks Again
Keep on tickin!