When Joylyn was 26, she was diagnosed with mitral valve disease following a routine stethoscope check. At that time and for the foreseeable future the condition was not a concern and was monitored with an annual physical examination.
In her 50’s Joylyn noticed changes to her health, she was easily fatigued, which was especially noticeable when involving physical exertion, such as climbing up the stairs. Although she shared these changes with her family physician, they were attributed to other reasons such as age, hormones, or her rheumatoid arthritis.
Joylyn re-counts the trials and tribulations when she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with blood clots and excess fluids in her lungs, however treatment did not improve her symptoms. By this point Joylyn was in her late 50’s, had lost 33 pounds and was reliant on a walker for mobility. During a fourth hospital admission, an ultrasound of the heart revealed a heart related diagnosis. Her mitral valve regurgitation (leak) had led to congestive heart failure. Both sides of her heart were so weak (biventricular failure)that operating on her would have been potentially fatal, but without intervention, she was going to die. Because Joylyn was not a surgical candidate, Dr. Carolyn Teng and her team, performed a minimally invasive procedure using catheters through the groin, called Mitral valve Transcatheter Edge-to-Edge Repair (TEER). This procedure treats mitral valve regurgitation without requiring open heart surgery, along with a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery. Not only did Joylyn survive but she reported that her breathing improved immediately.
Joylyn felt she had a new lease on life and was very diligent with her rehabilitation. Her valve and heart had been overworked so her rehabilitation protocol was slow and calculated to allow her heart time to recover. With the tremendous support of her family and the daily monitoring provided by Southlake’s Regional Cardiac Care Program & Heart Function Clinic, Joylyn adapted her lifestyle and learned how to take better care of herself through diet, exercise, and medication. This commitment paid off, as with every check up her heart was getting stronger and Dr. Teng, Joylyn’s cardiac surgeon, has reported that her weakened heart muscles have returned to normal. Joylyn now enjoys energetic walks outside, especially when the weather is agreeable, however has a treadmill at home for the colder Canadian days.