Minimally invasive mitral valve repair at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital changes Vero man’s life

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

Louis Palumbo

Louis Palumbo

For close to a year, Louis Palumbo experienced fatigue and shortness of breath.

“Almost always,” he says when asked how often he felt those symptoms. “Whenever I’d do anything like try to walk or anything, I felt them.”

Mr. Palumbo was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, and on September 9, the 90-year-old Vero Beach resident became the first patient at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital to undergo a minimally invasive transcatheter mitral valve repair. With this procedure, catheters are navigated into the heart through a venous entry in the leg. Once the catheter is positioned over the mitral valve, the surgeon is able to clip it to alleviate regurgitation.

“I got up afterwards and walked up and down the hall two or three times with a nurse without any shortness of breath,” said Mr. Palumbo.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Mariano Brizzio, MD, along with interventional cardiologist Carlos Gonzalez Lengua, MD, performed the procedure. “It changed his life,” Dr. Brizzio said of Mr. Palumbo.

Dr. Brizzio is excited that this procedure is now available at Indian River Hospital.

“Prior to this being available here, patients might have had to travel to larger cities or more specialized centers,” he said.

Because it is common for mitral valves to wear with age, Dr. Brizzio knows there is a need locally and believes it will be an asset to the community. A key benefit of this minimally invasive procedure is a much shorter recovery time, as compared to open heart surgery.

“The speed of recovery after this procedure is remarkable,” says Dr. Brizzio.

Mr. Palumbo agrees. “I feel so much better. It’s unbelievable the difference that I’ve had.”

Learn more about heart and vascular care at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital at

Dr. Mariano Brizzio

Dr. Carlos Gonzalez-Lengua

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