84-year-old woman tries life-changing procedure

"For some years before surgery I had times when I would feel less peppy," Diane Foley said. "Now this was a sign of my Mitral Valve dysfunction."

Diane Foley has a mitral valve disorder, which means the mitral valve flaps in the heart don't close completely, allowing blood to flow back into the heart as it pumps.

This can cause symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath.

"I had a severe heart attack in June of 2017 right after my 84th birthday," Diane said. "I lost about 20 lbs within a few days. That seemed to me like one of the symptoms that showed me I was going to die."

once Diane heard there was a doctor in Billings who could help her, she said her whole demeanor changed.

Diane was only the second person in Montana to receive this procedure, and the first in Billings.

"The MitraClip procedure that Diane went through with us is a relatively new procedure," Dr. Per Somer, a Billings Clinic Interventional Cardiologist said. "It's just a couple of years old,  and it's a way to treat the Mitra valve without surgery. With a catheter based procedure."

Diane said since the surgery, she feels like her old self again.

"Well, the way I feel now is like I felt about 6 or 7 years ago before these symptoms."

Dr. Somer said some other symptoms include shortness of breath, swollen legs, and chest discomfort.

He said even if you have not experienced heart issues before, it's important to see a doctor if you experience these or any other symptoms.

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