UAB Hospital uses new procedure as an alternative to open heart - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

UAB Hospital uses new procedure as an alternative to open heart surgery

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Dr. Seun Alli listens to Bill York's heart. Source: WBRC video Dr. Seun Alli listens to Bill York's heart. Source: WBRC video
An example of how the Mitra Clip can be used. Source: Abbott An example of how the Mitra Clip can be used. Source: Abbott
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A new cutting edge device could give thousands of heart patients a new option and new hope.

Doctors at UAB are some of the few in the U.S. using the latest technology.

"I would try to cheer him up when inside I was terribly upset because I was thinking, we've tried everything," explained Mary York of Cullman.

She and her husband Bill have been married for 65 years. But a few years ago Bill's health took a devastating turn for the worst.

Doctors found a leak in Bill York's heart. His condition made it very difficult for him to breathe and get around.

"Well he had really given up. He kept saying I can't breathe. I can't make it," added Mary York.

At 83-years-old, open heart surgery would have been too risky and the medication doctors prescribed didn't seem to work. But then the Yorks learned about a doctor at UAB who might be able to help.

"After we heard about him, we immediately came down for an appointment," Mary York said.

UAB Cardiologist Dr. Seun Alli saw Bill York as a good candidate for a procedure using a new device called the Mitra Clip.

The clip connects two valves of the heart and in Bill York's case, it will reduce the leak in his heart.

The added bonus for a patient like him is that using the Mitra Clip minimally invasive procedure.

"He avoids an open heart procedure. We can go through the groin to the heart and we clips the valves together," explained Dr. Alli.

He said the procedure took three hours and before the day was over Bill York was up and walking.

Three weeks later, the Yorks returned to Dr. Alli's office for a checkup.

"It looks really good. I'm really pleased with the way things have gone," explained Dr. Alli after listening to Bill York's heart.

The Yorks say they are back to enjoying things they love most like watching Auburn football.

"We've got our tickets in order. We have everything ready to go and enjoy the football game," added Mary York.

Dr. Alli says there are thousands of patients who might benefit from this new device.

The FDA approved use of the device last fall. UAB Hospital is one of a handful of hospitals using the Mitra Clip in the U.S. So far, doctors at UAB have had four successful procedures.

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