Interventional cardiologists Miguel Diaz, MD, FACC, FSCAI and Marquand Patton, DO, FACC, FSCAI, FSVM, FASE, FASNC, RPVI recently performed the 50th MitraClip™ procedure at the Heart Institute at Palmetto General Hospital. Dr. Diaz, Medical Director of the Structural Heart Program at Palmetto General Hospital, and Dr. Patton, offer the MitraClip™ as a minimally-invasive structural heart treatment for severe mitral regurgitation (MR), one of the most common heart valve diseases. MitraClip™ candidates include patients at a high-risk for traditional open-heart surgery and select heart patients who remain symptomatic despite guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT).
“Years ago the mitral valve was repaired with open heart surgery. Over the last few years we’ve developed percutaneous mitral valve repair. Through a catheter in the leg we can thread a clip on the mitral valve and help approximate the edges so that the leak is not nearly as severe,” said Dr. Diaz.
A leak in the mitral valve occurs when the leaflets, or flaps, of the mitral valve do not close completely, allowing blood to flow back into the heart as it pumps. The heart has to work harder, as a result, to keep blood flowing and can raise the risk for life-threatening stroke and heart failure. When MR becomes severe, it can profoundly affect a person’s quality-of-life by causing shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and other debilitating symptoms. If left untreated, MR can ultimately lead to heart failure and death.
“The MitraClip™ is an ideal treatment for a leaky mitral valve that when left untreated can cause blood to pool up within the heart resulting in excess fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and pulmonary edema,” said Dr. Diaz.
“As the mitral valve continues to leak, eventually the heart muscle begins to weaken. When the heart muscle weakens it causes cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmias, respiratory failure and heart failure,” added Dr. Patton.
For MR patients who are ineligible for surgery or select heart failure patients who remain symptomatic despite GDMT, the most advanced MitraClip™ G4 system may offer a treatment option.
The MitraClip™ device is delivered to the heart through a small incision in the leg and clips portions of the leaflets of the mitral valve together to reduce the backflow of blood, restoring the heart’s ability to pump oxygenated blood more efficiently. Patients tend to have a short hospital stay, on average, one day, and experience improved heart function and symptoms almost immediately.
“The results have been excellent thus far, patients have been admitted to the hospital less frequently, their heart function has improved and for those who have been the right candidate for this procedure it’s been life-saving,” said Dr. Diaz.