“I couldn’t stand up or walk,” shares 77-year old Clifford Stout of just how badly his health had deteriorated by the end of 2014. “I was on oxygen 24/7. I was literally dying.” With severe shortness of breath, Clifford believed he faced two major health problems: a COPD diagnosis and a leaky mitral valve that had been getting gradually worse over the last 20 years. He was hospitalized multiple times in a short three-month period for heart failure. Today, Clifford heads to the gym three times a week, mows his own lawn and credits his team at Oklahoma Heart Institute (OHI) and a new procedure called MitraClip Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement with giving him his life back.
Not a Candidate for Open Heart Surgery
In the spring of 2014, Clifford says the lack of oxygen in his blood continued to worsen, making it more difficult to breathe with each passing day. His congestive heart failure also progressed. He needed surgery to repair the valve, but due to the COPD diagnosis and previous bypass surgery in 1994, Clifford wasn’t a candidate for open heart surgery – the only option at that time to fix his mitral valve regurgitation. For several months, Clifford tried to find an answer. “There were several doctors who said there wasn’t anything they could do for me,” he recalls. “Fortunately, my nephew is a physician and said to call Oklahoma Heart Institute.”
Clifford scheduled an appointment in the fall of 2014 with OHI cardiovascular thoracic surgeon Dr. Michael Phillips. “He thought I might be a candidate for a brand new procedure Dr. Muhammad was doing,” recalls Clifford. “He was the only doctor doing this procedure in Oklahoma.”
“Mr. Stout was found to have severe mitral regurgitation causing him to have congestive heart failure,” shares Director of the Structural Heart Disease Program at OHI, Dr. Kamran Muhammad. “He underwent evaluation by our multidisciplinary heart valve team. Dr. Phillips felt Mr. Stout was too high risk to undergo a repeat open heart surgery to fix his mitral valve. We determined that percutaneous Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) with the MitraClip device, an FDA-approved and minimally invasive procedure, was Mr. Stout's best option for repairing his leaky mitral valve.”
It was also determined Clifford did not in fact have COPD. Fixing his leaky mitral valve could potentially solve his shortness of breath. Clifford’s MitraClip procedure was scheduled for December 16, 2014.
One of the First MitraClip Candidates in Tulsa
OHI performed the first successful MitraClip procedure in Tulsa one month earlier, but that didn’t deter Clifford. He was ready and confident in his team at OHI. “I was the fifth person in Tulsa to have it done,” Clifford says proudly. “The results have been fantastic!”
“Before his procedure he had severe mitral valve leaking,” recalls Dr. Muhammad. “After placing one clip on his mitral valve, the leaking was reduced to mild. Mr. Stout was discharged three days after his procedure and has done extremely well. He no longer needs oxygen support.”
Today, the retired food industry sales manager spends his time woodworking and welding in his shop, working in the yard and picking up the weights in the gym. “I can bench press 100 pounds, dead lift 270 and do three miles on the Exercycle,” he says of his transformation of health. “It’s like being born again.”
“We are so pleased that we were able to help him return to enjoying life again,” shared Dr. Muhammad. “He is an amazing patient that it has been a pleasure to care for.”
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