Mommy feels great!
One woman’s triumph over mitral valve prolapse
Her sister died suddenly at age 42 (married with three children). Her brother died at 37 (married with three children). So Connie Karcher, “was a bundled mess of nerves” when she was expecting her first child. She went to her doctor for a complete cardiac workup, and found the family pattern was continuing: she had mitral valve prolapse.
Although the leakage was mild at the time of her diagnosis, it got worse by the year. By the time her son was seven, her cardiologist told her, “You need surgery. You need to have it now.” Connie said: “Stop right there. I’ve already decided upon the Cleveland Clinic.”
The 45-year-old Perrysburg, Ohio resident had been researching valve replacement and repair on the Internet. Online, she discovered that Cleveland Clinic Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute did more surgery for mitral valve prolapse than anyplace in the world. More importantly, for her, the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute offered robotically assisted mitral valve surgery.
“I didn’t want to join the zipper club,” she recalls. “Plus, I could reassure my family that I was having my surgery at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, with the outstanding surgeon Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic.”
In Cleveland, she and her husband met with Dr. Mihaljevic, who explained the procedure in detail. “With robotic surgery,” Connie says, “recovery is a matter of weeks, rather than months. There are no blood transfusions involved. Just three tiny incisions. Less chance of infection.”
Connie had her surgery on a Monday. “I was in the ICU, brushing my teeth and combing my hair, same day.” By Tuesday, she was out of the ICU. By Friday, she was out of the hospital.
When she first arrived home, her children ran to her. But they were wary of hugging. They were worried that hugging her might hurt her. “But I told them,” Connie says, ‘The surgery was a success. Mommy feels great!’”
Questions about robotic heart surgery?
Watch a Q&A video with Dr. Mihaljevic.
Learn what surgeries can be done robotically and who is a candidate.
If you need more information, contact us, chat online with a nurse or call the Miler Family Heart & Vascular Institute Resource & Information Nurse at 216.445.9288 or toll-free at 866.289.6911.
We would be happy to help you.