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Listening to Her Heart: A Mitral Valve Prolapse Patient Story


Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

An active member of her church and grandmother of four, Birdie Dally is a busy lady. One day, Birdie was having problems breathing while singing at church. When the problems persisted, she decided to see her doctor.

Birdie’s primary care physician noticed a problem with her heart during routine testing and suggested she see a specialist.

In the fall of 2012, she was referred to Robin Girdhar, MD, at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

Testing revealed a mitral valve prolapse. When the mitral valve prolapses and leaks, blood flows backwards into the heart and weakens it. Over time, this can lead to heart failure.

“When I was first diagnosed, I had no idea what it meant, but I knew that something needed to be done and I better not put it off,” she says.

After a follow up with Dr. Girdhar in June 2013, Birdie was referred to Vinay Badhwar, MD, who discussed minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery with her to repair her damaged valve.

In August 2013, Birdie underwent minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery for valve repair. “I didn’t go through a lot of anxiety or concern. The doctors were so caring and compassionate; I knew I was receiving top-notch care.”

Birdie returned home within a week of her surgery and was back to most normal activities within six weeks. She encourages others who might have mitral valve prolapse to not ignore their symptoms and see their doctor.

“Since my surgery, my life is pretty much back to normal. I’m able to sing better at church, take care of my house, and play basketball with my grandchildren.”

Read an extended version of Birdie’s story, as well as other patient stories on the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute website.

Birdie’s treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

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Heart and Vascular Institute

As a recognized leader in cardiovascular care — with a rich history in clinical research and innovation — the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute offers a full spectrum of personalized cardiovascular services. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the United States, UPMC has made significant contributions to the advancement of cardiovascular medicine. Read More