An emerging technology that can be used to treat mitral valve regurgitation is MitraClip.
The MitraClip is a percutaneous technology, meaning it is put in thru the skin. The procedure is called transcatheter mitral valve repair, but most of the time it is simply called MitraClip insertion. The Clip is inserted thru a vein in the groin.
The patient's original valve is not cut out when MitraClip is performed.
MitraClip is not an open surgery. The heart is not stopped with MitraClip and the heart and lung machine is not needed. Instead, special wires and catheters are fed thru a vein in the groin, up into the heart.
A small hole is made in the middle of the heart - thru the septum - and the Clip is pushed over to the left atrium. Using x-ray and ultrasound guidance, the Clip is positioned to catch the two moving parts of the mitral valve, the leaflets.
Once the leaflets are caught in the Clip, the Clip is released. The Clip pinches the leaflets together so that the valve does not leak as much. The special wires and catheters are then removed.
MitraClip is approved for use in patients with severe leakage of the mitral valve, who are high risk for open surgery and/or who are frail.
Leakage or regurgitation of the mitral valve causes extra work for the heart. Over time, patients can experience shortness of breath, tiredness, and lower body swelling or fluid retention.
If the leakage is not addressed, the heart can weaken. If the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, the patient can develop congestive heart failure.
There are several tests which need to be done prior to MitraClip, including a cardiac catheterization. Dr. Pool and his team will guide you thru which tests you may need, if they have not been done yet.
Once testing is completed, Dr. Pool and his team will decide if your mitral valve is likely to be amenable to Clip placement. Not every mitral valve is broken in a way that the Clip can fix. Usually a TEE - a transesophageal echocardiogram - is performed, in order to provide detailed images of the mitral valve.
Dr. Pool's team has done dozens of MitraClip procedures.
Most patients need general anesthetic.
The procedure is performed in the cath lab.
The procedure is performed, typically with the Clip inserted thru the vein in the groin. The procedure usually takes 1-2 hours.
The anesthesia is delivered by a Board-certified cardiac anesthesiologist.
Most patients do not need to go the ICU.
Most patients go home the next day.