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Discover a breakthrough in cardiovascular care with Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) using MitraClip™. MemorialCare offers this non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment option for patients suffering from mitral regurgitation, a common heart valve disorder that requires prompt and efficient treatment.

What is Mitral Valve Regurgitation?

Mitral regurgitation is a cardiac condition characterized by the improper closure of the heart’s mitral valve, which helps regulate blood flow through the heart. In individuals with mitral regurgitation, the valve does not close tightly, allowing blood to leak backward.

The condition can arise from various underlying causes, such as age-related degeneration of the valve, heart muscle dysfunction, congenital defects, or damage from a heart attack. As a result of this backflow of blood, the heart has to work harder to compensate for the inefficiency, which can lead to symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, and, in more severe cases, fluid retention and heart failure.

Diagnosis often involves a combination of physical examination, imaging tests like echocardiography, and sometimes cardiac catheterization. The severity of mitral regurgitation is categorized into different grades, ranging from mild to severe, based on the amount of blood regurgitation and its impact on the heart’s function.

What is Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR)?

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat mitral valve regurgitation.

To repair the damaged valve, a surgeon needs access to the heart’s mitral valve. But instead of cutting open the chest as in traditional open-heart surgery, a small incision is made in the leg to allow for a thin, hollow tube called a catheter to enter the body. Inserted in this catheter is a device – often a MitraClip – that will be used to repair the valve itself. Using blood vessels as a pathway and imaging techniques such as echocardiography and fluoroscopy, the catheter is guided to the heart where the surgeon can then complete the repair.  

How is MitraClip used during Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair?

To best understand how the MitraClip is used, let’s take a closer look at the mitral valve itself. One of the heart’s four valves, the mitral valve is located between the upper left heart chamber, called the atrium, and the lower right chamber, called the ventricle. The valve has two leaflets, or flaps, that allow it to control the flow of blood through the heart. During the first half of your heartbeat, they open to allow blood to move forward, and during the second half, they close to create a seal that prevents backflow. This ensures that your heart beats rhythmically and efficiently.

The MitraClip works by clipping together portions of these two leaflets. Once the catheter has reached the mitral valve, the MitraClip, which resembles a small, grasping clip with two arms, is carefully deployed. These arms are designed to grasp and hold together the edges of the mitral valve leaflets that are responsible for the improper closure. By holding these leaflets together, the MitraClip effectively reduces the backflow of blood and helps restore proper valve function. This improved closure can alleviate symptoms and reduce the workload on the heart, potentially improving the patient’s overall heart function and quality of life.

What are the advantages of Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair using MitraClip?

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) with the MitraClip offers notable advantages over conventional surgery. Compared to traditional open-heart surgery, the minimally invasive TMVR procedure using the MitraClip involves smaller incisions and reduced trauma to the chest. This results in a quicker recovery time, less scarring, diminished postoperative pain, and a shorter hospital stay (usually just one night in the hospital), enabling patients to resume their daily activities sooner.

A significant benefit of TMVR is its suitability for high-risk patients who might not tolerate the rigors of conventional surgery due to age, underlying health issues, or frailty. The MitraClip procedure provides these patients with a viable treatment option, addressing their mitral regurgitation while minimizing the risks associated with open-heart surgery.

Furthermore, the MitraClip’s minimally invasive approach reduces the likelihood of complications related to sternotomy (a surgical incision through the sternum) the surgical technique used in conventional mitral valve repair. This contributes to a lower overall risk profile and enhances patient comfort during the recovery period.

What are the potential risks and complications of Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair using MitraClip?

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) using the MitraClip is generally considered a safer alternative to traditional open-heart surgery, particularly for patients who are deemed high-risk or ineligible for surgery due to various factors. However, like any medical procedure, TMVR with the MitraClip does carry some potential risks and complications, such as infections, bleeding and blood clots. Additionally, on rare occasions, the MitraClip may inadvertently cause narrowing of the mitral valve (mitral stenosis), limiting blood flow. There is also a small risk of damaging nearby structures within the heart during the procedure. While successful outcomes have been seen in many patients, there is no guarantee that it will completely eliminate mitral regurgitation or improve symptoms.

At MemorialCare, eliminating risks is our prime concern. Our highly experienced team of cardiac specialists carefully assesses each patient’s individual condition and overall health to determine eligibility. Those considering TMVR should expect to partake in a thorough physical exam and medical tests, such as echocardiogram, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, blood tests and coronary angiography, to ensure their safety and suitability for this procedure.

Evaluation to be a candidate for Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair using MitraClip is offered at:

FAQ about Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR)

Is Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair open-heart surgery?

No, Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) is not open-heart surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting a specialized device, such as the MitraClip, through a catheter introduced via a blood vessel in the leg. TMVR aims to treat mitral valve regurgitation without the need for a large chest incision or placing the patient on a heart-lung bypass machine, distinguishing it from traditional open-heart surgery.

Who is a good candidate for Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair using MitraClip?

An ideal candidate for Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) using MitraClip is someone with symptomatic mitral regurgitation who is considered high-risk or ineligible for traditional open-heart surgery due to factors such as advanced age, underlying medical conditions or frailty. The candidate should have suitable valve anatomy and characteristics that make them amenable to the TMVR procedure. A comprehensive evaluation by a specialized medical team is essential to determine if the individual’s condition and overall health align with the potential benefits of TMVR using MitraClip.

Is Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair a risky procedure?

While Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) using devices like MitraClip is generally considered a safer alternative to open-heart surgery, it is not entirely without risks. Complications associated with TMVR may include device-related issues, the possibility of residual regurgitation, infection, bleeding, blood clots, damage to surrounding structures, and rare allergic reactions. The decision to undergo TMVR should be based on a careful assessment of the patient’s individual condition and potential benefits must be weighed against the potential risks.

Will I need to take medications after a Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair with MitraClip procedure?

After undergoing Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) with MitraClip, your medical team will determine whether you need to take medications based on your individual condition and the success of the procedure. Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms, prevent blood clots, and support your heart’s function during the recovery period. It’s important to follow your health care provider’s recommendations and attend regular follow-up appointments to ensure the best possible outcome after TMVR with MitraClip.

Is Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair a permanent fix for mitral regurgitation?

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) using devices like MitraClip can provide significant relief from mitral regurgitation, but its long-term effectiveness can vary depending on individual factors. While TMVR can significantly reduce regurgitation and improve symptoms, some degree of regurgitation may persist over time in some cases. Regular follow-up with your medical team is crucial to monitor the results of TMVR and ensure ongoing heart health.

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