“Seeing patients regain the energy to live their lives is definitely the best part.”
A High-Tech "Clothespin"
New device helps repair leaky hearts.
For years, the solution to mitral regurgitation has been open heart surgery. Those who aren’t good surgical candidates – often because their heart is too weak or damaged – often end up simply living with the condition.
At Providence St. Jude Medical Center there is another option: a miniature clothespin-like device that attaches to the mitral valve to help it close more completely and restore normal blood flow. Called MitraClip, the dime-sized clip is implanted via a catheter threaded through a vein near the hip and successfully prevents the backward flow or regurgitation of blood by fastening together the valve’s leaky flaps.
“Not only does MitraClip significantly reduce or eliminate the shortness of breath and fatigue that are common with mitral regurgitation, it offers all the benefits of a minimally invasive approach,” explains Aidan Raney, MD, an interventional cardiologist. Patients often spend just one night in the hospital, resume daily activities quickly and typically see symptoms wane within days.”
When the heart weakens—whether from a heart attack, virus or other conditions—it often causes the mitral valve to stop working efficiently. The result is mitral regurgitation, making it even harder for the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. Left untreated, the condition can significantly
increase mortality while destroying quality of life.
“Seeing patients regain the energy to live their lives is definitely the best part,” explains Dr. Raney, who helps lead the St. Jude Valve Clinic. “Open heart surgery remains the gold standard
for repairing the mitral valve when it leaks, but having a minimally invasive option for patients who are higher-risk—one that is creating very good outcomes—is exciting.”
Patients with mitral regurgitation or other forms of heart disease are presented at the hospital’s cardiac team meeting—which includes experts in cardiothoracic surgery, interventional
cardiology, echocardiography and cardiology.
“Because we involve multiple specialties, our patients benefit from the collective experience and expertise of a cardiac program named one of the nation’s best,” Dr. Raney says.
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