In this health video learn how cameras and tiny incisions are revolutionizing heart surgery.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Matthews: John Enns was lucky to see his wedding day. At age 23, he was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart defect. John Enns: All of a sudden I have a shortness of breath, walking up stairs, doing things like that. Jennifer Matthews: Medication didn't help, and doctors said surgery wasn't an option. Dr. Michael Black: This condition is thought to be a non-surgical problem. That's what the books would say. Jennifer Matthews: But Doctor Michael Black operates where others dare not go. He used a technique called touch-free surgery on John. Dr. Michael Black: This is the mitral valve, and there is no opening. Jennifer Matthews: There should be a cavity in the middle of John's heart, but one side is too thick. To remove it, a surgeon must see where he's cutting. Dr. Michael Black: Most people would be able to resect the first centimeter, centimeter and change, but no one has taken out muscle to the bottom. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Black inserts long scissors and a tiny camera into the aorta, so he can see inside John's heart and do the impossible. Without putting a hand inside John's body, Doctor Black cuts out extra muscle all the way to the bottom. He creates a cavity, making John's heart normal. John Enns: The day I woke up after the surgery, I was in the intensive care unit, and honestly, I felt fine. Jennifer Matthews: The incisions are six inches or less. With standard surgery, incisions would run from the neck to the belly button. John Enns: I really just put my faith in them, and I trusted them. Jennifer Matthews: John's faith paid off. Today, he's healthy and as active as ever. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.