Explore UPMC.com

Birdie Dally: Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) Patient Story

Birdie Dally - Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) Patient Story

The Challenge: Shortness of Breath

As an active member of her church and grandmother of four, Birdie Dally is used to keeping busy.

One day, Birdie noticed that she was having problems breathing while singing at church. When the problems persisted, she decided to see her doctor.

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

The Path to UPMC's Heart and Vascular Institute

In the fall of 2012, Birdie saw Robin Girdhar, MD, a cardiologist at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at the recommendation of her daughter. Dr. Girdhar treated Birdie's daughter for a minor heart condition.

After a heart catheterization and stress test, she was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.

“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,” Birdie says.

After a follow up with Dr. Girdhar in June 2013, he referred Birdie to a heart surgeon at the Heart and Vascular Institute. Her fatigue and shortness of breath were indications that her valve was leaking and there was cause for concern.

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

Birdie's surgeon recommended minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery to repair her damaged valve.

The Solution: Robotic-assisted Valve Repair Surgery

In August 2013, Birdie underwent minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery for valve repair.

Her sister previously had open heart surgery. That experience prepared her for her own surgery.

“I didn’t go through a lot of anxiety or concern. Sometimes you get knocked down, but you get back up. The doctors were so caring and compassionate; I knew I was receiving top-notch care,” says Birdie.

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 follow up with their doctor before their condition worsens.

“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,” she says.

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

» Read stories from other UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute patients like Birdie.

Learn More About Heart Conditions and Treatments

UPMC Patient Education Materials:

Emmi ™ Patient Education Videos:

From our Health Library:

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA | UPMC.com