After listening to Shirley's heart, Dr. Oz says he has good news. "You don't have a leaky valve," he says. "When your heart gets injured, especially if you've had a heart attack in one part of the heart, the mitral valve, which is the big valve inside the heart that holds the blood, starts to leak."
Dr. Oz brought along healthy female and male hearts to show Shirley what areas of her heart may be damaged. When you open a heart, Dr. Oz says you can see the coronary artery, which is what closes off when you have chest pains. The mitral valve is located next to the coronary artery.
"That mitral valve isn't held by strings quite as tightly. When these strings get loose, then the mitral valve begins to snap," he says. "That gives you the panic attacks that sometimes are found with mitral valve prolapse. When the valve snaps, the blood reverberates and that sound wave hits the back of the heart."
Since the back of the female heart is rich in nerves and very sensitive, Dr. Oz says this reverberation can make a woman feel like she's being crowded in.
Going forward, Dr. Oz says Shirley needs to take good care of her heart and keep her arteries clear. "You don't have a lot more room to play," he says. "Your whole heart doesn't need to function perfectly, but you need enough."
Instead of focusing on detection, Dr. Oz says patients should focus on prevention. "The big issue we have in America is everyone wants to know, 'What kind of tests do I get?' I mean, Tim Russert passes away and everyone wants to know, 'What tests could he have gotten?'" Dr. Oz says. "He had all the tests he should have gotten. Tests are a snapshot in time. They don't tell you what's going to happen a week or 10 days down the road all the time. So you've got to live to be healthy…not test to be safe."