You're waking up at night gasping for air more often now. You're tired a lot. You know you have mitral regurgitation. You've been taking medicine but it's not working. But the heart valve experts at UVA Health can still help you. We were one of the first places to offer a special treatment option — the MitraClip procedure.
MitraClip: Mitral Valve Repair & Heart Failure
In the past, mitral regurgitation was only treated with open surgery to repair your mitral valve. That means big cuts on your body and a long recovery. And if you have both mitral valve regurgitation and heart failure, open surgery is very risky. Medicines by themselves don’t always work to make you feel better.
But with MitraClip, we can repair your mitral valve through only a small tube. That means less risk and a shorter, easier recovery.
UVA Health's Mitral Valve Repair Research for Heart Failure Patients
We participated in the research (called the COAPT trial) to test if we can repair mitral valves in people with heart failure. Instead of big cuts on your body, we use a small tube called a catheter (it's a minimally invasive procedure). The catheter goes into one of the blood vessels in your leg.
Through the catheter, we can send the MitraClip device up to your heart and put it in place. This is called a transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR). The MitraClip helps your heart valve to stop leaking.
The research found that patients who got MitraClip had:
- No issues from the MitraClip procedure
- Lower risks for death or needing to stay in the hospital
- Felt much better
- Improves breathing
- Lets you get back to exercising
- Improves your quality of life
- Lowers your risk of dying from heart failure
- Lowers your risk of needing to stay in the hospital for heart failure
Having a MitraClip Procedure at UVA Health
To start, you'll get medicine to make you fall asleep. Then we put a wand-like tool in your mouth and down your throat to your stomach. It lets us see inside your body while we work on your heart. This is called a transesophageal echocardiogram.
With this tool, we can see your mitral valve. We then make a small cut on a blood vessel in your leg to put in the catheter. The MitraClip goes up through the tube to your heart. There, we put it on your leaking mitral valve. It helps stop the leaking.
Advantages of MitraClip® Procedure
UVA Health was one of the first in the country to offer the MitraClip® procedure, a less invasive treatment option than open heart surgery.
MitraClip is approved for patients with degenerative mitral valve disease. That means you have a leaking mitral valve because it either isn't shaped right or it just isn't working as it should.
If you have functional mitral regurgitation, and you've already had surgery on your mitral valve, you might also be a good candidate. Functional mitral regurgitation means your mitral valve leaks your heart muscle is weak from having a heart attack.
If you have mitral regurgitation from rheumatic fever or an infection, MitraClip is not recommended.