Maryland's Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2015 - (Page 1)

SPOTLIGHT: University of Maryland HEART CENTER A Life Back in Bloom After mitral valve repair at University of Maryland Heart Center, Diane Adams is enjoying work-and her favorite hobbies-again B ookkeeper Diane Adams wasn't too worried when "In this case, the heart is always working overtime," says she began to feel a bit lightheaded, have dizzy James Gammie, MD, chief of cardiac surgery and co-director spells or experience shortness of breath when of the University of Maryland Heart Center, and professor of walking up the stairs. Adams had just ended surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. a recent round of chemotherapy for breast can- "Because the valve is leaking, to get five gallons of blood to go cer, and the Columbia resident thought that forward, the heart has to do the work to pump 10 gallons." was the reason. "I thought it was just my body readjusting," says the 54- Mitral valve regurgitation can develop over time, or it can occur suddenly after a heart attack or an infection, causing year-old, whose favorite hobby is making floral arrangements. functional changes in the valve's ability to It wasn't until a routine echocardiogram a few months later work properly. Left untreated, mitral valve that she discovered the surprising reason for her symptoms: regurgitation can lead to irregular heart- a leaking mitral valve in her heart. beat and, ultimately, heart failure. About 4 million people in the United AN ORGAN WORKING OVERTIME States have significant mitral valve prob- With a healthy heart, all of the blood moves forward when the lems; each year, about 50,000 of them heart contracts. With Adams' condition, known as mitral valve undergo surgery. Surgeons treat most regurgitation, half of the blood goes backward. cases of mitral regurgitation by repairing Diane Adams

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland's Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2015

Maryland's Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2015