How non-invasive surgery got her back on her feet

​Delia Ortiz, heart disease, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center

Ortiz_Our StoriesThere are certain events in our lives that make us step back and appreciate the things we hold close to our hearts.

For me, it’s the love and support of my family. They were there for me when I was recently diagnosed with a serious heart valve disorder called mitral regurgitation.

My journey began earlier this year. I had just finished my shift as a laundry aide when an unusual sickness came over me.

I went home and felt my heart pounding hard inside my chest. I had no idea what was happening to me. Was I having a heart attack? I was terrified and knew I had to see my doctor as soon as possible.

I scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician, and she recommended I visit Dr. Augusto Villa, an interventional cardiologist at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.

Dr. Villa discovered that I had a severe case of mitral regurgitation, which meant that my mitral valve was letting blood leak into my heart. He said I had several options but suggested I undergo the MitraClip procedure.

Dr. Villa explained this new, non-invasive alternative to heart surgery would involve inserting a device into my heart through a vein in my leg that would help my heart pump blood more efficiently.

Even though I felt confident in Dr. Villa and his team’s abilities, I was nervous going into the procedure. What if something happened and I never saw my family again?

Fortunately, I didn’t have much time to worry. Before I knew it, a nurse wheeled me into the recovery room, where my family was waiting to greet me. I couldn’t have been happier to see them.

My two-day recovery period at the hospital was a blessing. The nursing staff was wonderful, constantly checking up on me to make sure I was comfortable.

Thanks to my new MitraClip device, I feel stronger and more alive than ever. I couldn’t be more grateful to Dr. Villa and the cardiac team at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center for helping me overcome my condition and develop a new appreciation for life.

For anyone else who suffers from the same type of heart disorder and is thinking about having this procedure, I can only say this: Close your eyes and do it. If not for yourself, do it for your friends, your family and all the people who matter in your life.