Nancy Paul stands smiling next to Dr. Sandeep Patel who performed her TMVR surgery
Heart and Vascular

How a Heart Procedure Close to Home Saved One Patient’s Life for a Second Time

Jun 3 2019

How TMVR saved Nancy’s life a second time

In 2001, Nancy Paul from Lima, Ohio, found out she had to have a mitral valve replacement through open heart surgery. For those not familiar with the mitral valve, it is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle (main pumping chamber) of the heart. The importance of the mitral valve is to help regulate flow of oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left ventricle. After the left atrium contracts, the mitral valve closes keeping blood from leaking backwards into the lungs when the ventricle contracts – making this a very important part of your heart.

The replacement of the mitral valve through open heart surgery is not a small procedure that Nancy underwent years ago. After several weeks, even months of healing and rehabilitation she began getting back to her normal life. But, that was all about to change.

Fast forward to now, 2019. Nancy started to become fatigued and was having difficulty walking because she easily became short of breath. Knowing these symptoms all too well, she visited Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Cardiology team in Lima, OH for help.

Dr. Sandeep Patel is part of our cardiac team and specializes in interventional cardiology. He’s bringing new options for patient care to Lima and our surrounding communities – including the option to undergo a transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR). Typically, in the past, this procedure was not available in the area, however, because of the team’s extensive training, this procedure is now an option for patients close to home.

What is a transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR)?

A transcatheter mitral valve replacement is a minimally invasive procedure. It replaces a surgical mitral valve that is not working correctly. This procedure may be considered when someone is at too high risk for traditional open heart surgery. Given her health history and previous open heart surgery, Nancy was a candidate for this procedure and was the first patient in our Lima community to undergo this technique.

Knowing the severity of her condition Nancy expressed that, “I was ready to go for it if it was going to help me live longer and the procedure has a quicker healing time than the last mitral valve replacement.”

After learning what the procedure would involve, Dr. Patel and the structural heart interventional team prepared for the transcatheter mitral valve replacement. Nancy’s procedure took just a few short hours.

So, how does TMVR work?

This procedure is meant for those, like Nancy, who in the past have already had a mitral valve replacement and cannot undergo open heart surgery because of their high risk.

TMVR consists of:

  • A puncture is made through the femoral vein in the groin
  • Trans-septal access is performed with a guidewire directed across the failing mitral valve
  • A new valve is threaded over this guidewire and then implanted within the already present surgical prosthesis
  • No surgical incision is made
  • Recovery time is 4-6 hours and patients are discharged home in approximately 1-2 days

This minimally invasive, highly-specialized procedure helps improve quality of life and patients will feel better typically immediately after.

“I feel amazing! No pain or discomfort and no problems while in the hospital,” Nancy stated post-procedure. “No lifestyle changes are needed. I will continue to do what I have enjoyed in the past and may find new hobbies along the way.”

While the procedure is convenient for you, the patient, compassionate care is so important to us too.

“Dr. Patel is a very talented, gifted and a caring gentleman. Staff were excellent and there for me whenever I needed them. I felt that through the process we have become friends. The transition from the first appointment to completion of the mitral replacement was easy. We are blessed to have very well qualified physicians and staff here in Lima to do this procedure,” Nancy said.


If you or a loved one are a high risk cardiac patient this may be a procedure to consider, especially if you have a prior surgical mitral valve replacement. We recommend talking with your doctor or cardiologist about this option and learning more about the cardiac services offered at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Structural Heart and Interventional Center or a Mercy Health heart care location near you.

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