Maryland's Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2015 - (Page 1)
University of Maryland
A Life Back
After mitral valve repair
at University of Maryland
Heart Center, Diane Adams
is enjoying work-and
her favorite hobbies-again
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
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland's Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2015
Maryland's Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2015