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Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery: Eric Koontz’s Story

Eric Koontz is a pastor and a father of three young children living in the Lynchburg, Virginia area. Eric is an avid athlete — he’s always enjoyed trail running, participating in races, and playing racquetball. In 2012, he began to notice he was having trouble catching his breath after some of these activities. Initially Eric thought he was coming down with the flu so he stopped into his local doctor’s office to get a check-up. After some tests, Eric was told that he was actually showing symptoms of mitral valve prolapse, or MVP.

MVP is a fairly common heart disorder in which the flaps don’t work properly. This may cause blood flow to become irregular or even flow in the wrong direction.

Eric and his wife, Mary, were told there wasn’t much to do at first, but his symptoms started to worsen over time. They made the decision to see specialists at UVA Heart & Vascular Center. Gorav Ailawadi, MD, gave the Koontz family several options — one of which was a minimally invasive technique that would shorten his recovery time by several months.

After a successful surgery, Eric has been able to return to his trail runs and racquetball games, and Eric and Mary have continued to grow their family.

Watch Eric’s story here.

Tags: heart month

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