Queen’s Heart Institute patient Carole Rimell recently shared her life-changing story. A devastating diagnosis and limited treatment options brought her to Queen’s, where she was able to undergo a unique procedure that saved her life.
The O’ahu resident noticed one day that she felt ‘off’. When her husband arrived home from work, he immediately started checking her for signs of a stroke. Quickly, they made the decision to go to the hospital. Carole recalls her heart beating out of control. In that terrifying moment, she didn’t know what was happening to her body, and she was alarmed.
After the stroke, Carole’s healthcare team discovered that she needed a new valve for her heart. She was suffering from tricuspid valve regurgitation. This diagnosis causes patients like Carole to feel weak and ill.
If it is not treated, it can cause swelling, breathing issues, and ultimately liver failure. Carole needed a new valve for her heart, but she had few options. Medications were not helping, and she was not a good candidate for open-heart surgery due to her medical history. She was referred to Queen’s Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Benjamin Plank, who is passionate about treating complex heart issues and is experienced with minimally invasive treatment options.
Dr. Plank and a talented multidisciplinary team from Queen’s gave Carole and her family hope through a groundbreaking new option known as the Tricuspid Clip procedure. The most remarkable part about this procedure was that it used technology designed for another part of the heart to help solve the problem. Carole became the first patient at Queen’s and second within the state to undergo the Tricuspid Clip procedure.
Innovative thinking and modern technology changed Carole’s life. She had the procedure on a Friday and by Sunday she was able to attend church and sing. Carole now enjoys the little things like dancing with her granddaughter and walking up the stairs. In her words, “life is so good now, compared to what it was.”
Check out the video above to hear Carole tell her story and learn more about the leading-edge Tricuspid Clip procedure that saved her life.