Experimental procedure used one year ago in lieu of open heart surgery
Houston County Courier
By Ashlie LeBlanc Reporter
Ramiro Romo, a long-time resident of Crockett, says he “loaned my body to save lives”. Romo had a leaking valve in his heart this time last year. His grandson, Tony Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, helped put his grandfather in contact with a cardiologist at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. In the beginning, the doctors told him that he would have to have open heart surgery. Romo was too weak to have that extensive of a procedure at the time. He was given a new regimen of medication and waited for results. Romo eventually underwent a procedure called MitraClip therapy, which repairs the heart valve without having lengthy open heart surgery. He was able to receive the treatment as a patient in a clinical trial called Everest II. The MitraClip device is manufactured by Abbott, a global health care company. The Everest II trial is a multi-center, randomized clinical trial of 270 patients with moderate to severe mitral regurgitation (MR). An Abbott press release states, “MR is the most common type of heart valve insufficiency in the United States and Europe, affecting millions of people worldwide. MR affects more than 8 million people in the U.S. and Europe. “There are more than 600,000 new diagnoses of significant MR each year in the U.S. and Europe; however, only about 20 percent of these patients undergo surgery each year. “While many patients are either higher-risk surgical patients or not sick enough for surgery, approximately 80 percent of patients with MR continue to be affected by the chronic volume overload caused by MR, which requires the heart to work harder, and may ultimately lead to heart failure and other complications,” the Abbott press release states. The MitraClip system is a catheter-based system. This procedure is up for approval with the FDA (Food and Drug Admiration) this year. Romo wants everyone to be aware that this procedure is out there and that it saved his life. The MitraClip device is designed to reduce significant mitral regurgitaton (MR) by clipping together the leaflets of the mitral valve. The mitral valve is one of the four valves of the heart, according to an Abbott press release. Dr. Michael S. Donsky, cardiologist with Baylor Hospital’s Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Center, recommended Romo for the surgery. Romo was out of surgery in 45 minutes. The Abbott press release states, “MR currently is managed with drugs or open heart surgery. The MitraClip device has allowed patients to go from bed rest to having a more active and healthy lifestyle. Romo is one of those patients. Romo says, “I feel 100 percent better, I have more energy and now I have more time to do my work.” Romo is a deacon atr St. Francis of the Tejas Catholic Church in Crockett. He enjoys going and visiting friends and working on building things.