PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Talk about tiny devices doing big things.
Doctors are now using a special clip that looks like a miniature clothespin to treat people who have a heart valve problem.
In some cases, that tiny clip is replacing the need for surgery.
Alan Clark is once again able to walk without losing his breath, thanks to a device smaller than a dime.
The 65-year-old has a history of heart disease. Most recently, he had a heart valve problem called mitral regurgitation.
Dr. Atiq Rehman says the traditional treatment is open heart surgery, but that’s not an option for many patients who have a mitral valve leak because it would be too risky.
“Up until now, there was not any hope. They could not achieve a quality of life. Now, it’s different,” Dr. Rehman said.
That difference can come with a mitraclip, which is inserted into the heart valve through the groin similar to a cardiac catheterization.
It’s designed to bring the two flaps of the valve together more closely so that they no longer leak blood.
“I pretty much do anything I want to do now,” Clark said.
Clark, who had been in congestive heart failure, said his energy is back and he’s getting ready to get back on his motorcycle, now with his life back after getting the mitraclip.
“It’s definitely worth it. I’ve been through heart surgeries, I’ve been through other surgeries, and this is a walk in the park,” Clark said.